In 2015, Duluth voters in a 15,564 to 5,271 tally decided they would not join Minneapolis and St. Paul using RCV in place of their current voting system. Voters could not justify the change.
Walter Mondale wrote a letter to the Duluth newspaper calling RCV "confusing and complex".
On February 8, 2016, the Brooklyn City Council said no to ranked-choice voting for their city elections.
One resident said, "I don't think it is fair for my vote to be diluted in a ranked-choice vote."
Council member Terry Parks said, "I don't want to be like Minneapolis or St. Paul. I want to be Brooklyn Park."
Brooklyn Park's Charter Commission was first brought the idea of Ranked-Choice Voting in 2011 when the current Bloomington City Manager was City Manager in Brooklyn Park.
In the spring of 2022, Brooklyn Park Charter Commission entertained a revisit of Ranked-Choice Voting as a possible referendum. Both FairVote MN and Residents for a Better Bloomington (RFABB) were invited to present their positions. The Charter Commission voted to remove the issue from their work plan.
What makes Red Wing so unique is that local elections are held on even-years along with most state and federal elections. Most all other municipalities being courted for RCV have odd numbered year elections. What Red Wing found was that Minnesota law does not provide protection for the use of Ranked-Choice Voting. Therefore the council members unanimously decided not to move forward.
Governor Jerry Brown returned an RCV bill in 2016 stating that RCV was OVERLY COMPLICATED and CONFUSING. He believed that voting should be KEPT SIMPLE to encourage voter participation.
Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019 decided that RCV had already been tried in California, had led to VOTER CONFUSION and was not necessarily more "democratic".
If two consecutive California state executives say RCV is not necessarily easy as 1,2,3 and as democratic as supporters tell you, you have to know something is amiss.
In 2019, New York approved a referendum to use ranked-choice voting for their 2021 Municipal elections by a 3 to a margin.
Recently, a group of Democrats including the majority leader of the NY City Council, along with the Black and Asian caucuses tried to obstruct its usage. Their arguments include acknowledgement of existing roadblocks administering elections under normal circumstances, During the pandemic, the struggles are even greater. Then there was the issue of lack of education about the voting scheme. (26)
In 2005, Burlington, VT adopted IRV (Instant Runoff Voting also known as Ranked-Choice Voting. They used that method to elect Mayor twice thinking that it would ensure that at least 50% of voters would be electing the Mayor. What happened was that the least popular candidate actually won in the third round when no majority in the first two rounds was reached. (27)
In march of 2010 at a Town Hall Meeting, voters decided to repeal IRV. The Vermont Legislature approved the change in the city's charter and the Governor signed it into law. Both sides were stuck on the "majority" or 50%+ issue when in reality, neither system, IRV or Plurality voting can guarantee a true majority. (28) In 2020, after an attempt to reintroduce RCV, Mayor Weinberger vetoed the attempt for a city wide vote on using RCV in future municipal elections. He got it right explaining that he didn't feel it was time (during a pandemic) to fund a divisive referendum that would consume the energies and resources of the community. (30)
November 1974, Voters approved ranked preference voting for Mayor by 52% along partisan lines (Democrats for and Republicans against). In April 1975, the Mayor was elected in a very difficult race to count. The mayor won with second choice votes by 121 votes. Usage of paper ballots and not prepared city election workers compounded problems. This led to a petition in September 1975 to repeal the new voting system. The election of April 1976 the proposal to repeal this measure passed by 62%. (29)
Cary, NC was one of many North Carolina cities that piloted an IRV election program in 2007. It was a failed attempt illustrating multiple issues. Voter confusion, calculation mistakes, non-public recounts, manual counts and costly. In 2013 the State Legislature repealed IRV (31-33)
In 2007, Aspen voters decided to amend their city charter for Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) by a 70% margin. Residents believed the hype. By November 2010, the bloom was off the rose and residents voted to repeal IRV, also known as RCV by 65% of the vote. Obviously 5% did not mind the complications of their May 2009 election. Algorithms perplexed the community both on how they should vote and how votes would be counted. For a detailed cover story on the Aspen, Co experience, a cover story from the Aspen Times Weekly - Unlocking IRV: How instant runoff voting turned the May 2009 election into a 17-month fight, is a must read. (34)
Pierce County, Washington used IRV (RCV) in their county elections in 2009. After the election using IRV, their election staff reported that after spending $1.7 Million on the IRV election itself in the county, a survey of 90,000 voters provided that 66% did not like IRV. Voters did repeal this election fiasco and as in other cities, big non-identified outside money came out in force to stop the repeal. 28% of all votes cast were exhausted, thrown out, not counted. (36)
The treasurer of the "Yes" RCV Campaign admitted that he doesn't think this venture will be coming back soon due to the fact that RCV is a "hard concept" for people to understand. (43)
With a low 10,483 voter turnout, San Juan County rejected using ranked-choice voting of San Juan County Proposition 3 - 54.36% to 45.64%. Charter Review Commissioner, Tom Starr believed that RCV obscures true debates and issues. San Juan County Auditor, Milene Henley believed audits would be almost impossible and recounts would be too time consuming. While proponents of RCV say its perfectly okay to vote for one person, they fail to go one step further and mention that a voter runs the risk of exhausting his/her ballot in any subsequent counted rounds. (45)
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