Reader's View: NY shows Duluth was right on ranked voting

The Big Apple’s experience with a quintet of ranked-choice options turned out to be rotten.

Reader's View.jpg

The debacle in New York City over ranked-choice voting for mayor reflected the wisdom of the voters in Duluth — and the News Tribune — in resisting that convoluted balloting arrangement here.

The Big Apple’s experience with a quintet of ranked-choice options turned out to be rotten. It permeated with misleading algorithms, recanted count totals, phantom ballots, excessive delay, and other abnormalities that almost made the President Donald Trump-oriented vote “audit” circus in Arizona tolerable.

While ranked balloting with fewer candidates and fewer voters probably would not be as problematic here, the voters prudently averted it in 2015 by overwhelmingly refusing ranked-choice, by nearly a 3-1 margin at the polls in Duluth, although the system exists in about 15% of local units elsewhere in Minnesota.

A DFL-advocated proposition in this year’s legislative session to extend it to federal and statewide offices was sagaciously opposed in March by a News Tribune (“Like Duluth did, state can reject confusion of ranked-choice voting,” March 15). The editorial’s logic may have helped stifle the measure.

Apart from the many deficiencies noted in the editorial of ranked choice, the bungled ballot-counting in New York emboldened those casting doubt on the validity of the 2020 presidential election and became a breeding ground for future election skeptics.


Duluthians chose right when resoundingly rejecting ranked-choice voting locally six years ago, and this newspaper prudently cautioned against trying to enact it at other levels.

While the concept sounds enticing by encouraging more candidates, giving voters more choices, and facilitating more democracy, as New York demonstrated, more can sometimes be less satisfactory.

Risqué actress Mae West once stated, and pianist impresario Liberace once repeated, that, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful.”

With ranked-choice voting, too much of a bad thing can be woeful.

Marshall H. Tanick



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