2007 03 06

Honorable Legislators:

This communication was delivered to some Kentucky Representatives and Senators by eMail late on 2007 02 23, and personally at the meeting of the Northern Kentucky Caucus Saturday morning at the Erlanger City Building.

Responding to some discussion related to "primary runoff voting", apparently based on prior legislation, KRS 118.245 (1992). 

Senator Damon Thayer has been quoted in news articles and also appeared on a KET discussion with Representatives James Comer, and Rick Nelson, sponsor of one related bill, HB-224.

The discussion appears regrettably constrained to two options:

1. Leave the existing legislation as is.

2. Retract said legislation.

Either option results in a perversion of democracy!

Let us consider another option requiring new legislation while salvaging the intent of the prior.

A primary vote may be conducted differently:

A voter may be enabled to indicate more than the first-favored candidate, among those in the race. Thus, in the example of the current Democratic primary, since seven candidates vie to represent the Party, a registered voter may apply a numeric preference to (as many as) each of the 7 candidates. In other words, the voter is free to ascribe the mutually exclusive chosen rank to one or more options on a given slate.  A null response ( - ) indicates an absence of favor.

Here are representations of two validly completed ballots:

Candidate

Ballot 1 Ballot 2
Beshear 4 -
Galbraith 6 -
Henry 5 7
Hensley 7 1
Lunsford 3 -
Miller 1 2
Richards 2 -

The tally by election officials is computed for each candidate where rank is inversely proportional to points:

7 x 1votes + 6 x 2votes + 5 x 3votes + 4 x 4votes + 3 x 5votes + 2 x 6votes + 1 x 7votes.  Of course, no points are accorded a null vote ( - ).

The tally of the above two ballots yields:

Beshear  4

Galbraith  2

Henry  4

Hensley  8

Lunsford  5

Miller  13

Richards  6

 

Thus, the winner is Miller, without the need for a runoff between Hensley and Miller.

This method would eliminate the need for a runoff election which is expensive and arguably imperfect seeking the will of the voters. Voters would be very satisfied they have accurately conveyed their degree of favor for each candidate, and the winner of the tally would authentically reflect the preferences of all voters.  Democracy prevails!!

After some Googling:  another variation on what I have termed Vote_Once_Completely is:  Instant Runoff Voting, IRV.  Here are some examples of this increasingly prevalent method: 

http://betterballotcampaign.org/   

  http://betterballotcampaign.org/sites/fairvotemn.org/files/irv_presentation_mpls_42205.pdf

 

http://fairvote.org/

  http://fairvote.org/media/irv/PublicServantActionKit.pdf 

  http://fairvote.org/?page=20

  http://fairvote.org/?page=1866

  http://fairvote.org/?page=19

After a quick study, I can argue that Vote_Once_Completely is a better method for processing the votes for immediate, authentic result.

In either method, voters vote completely.  Over time, by increasing voter satisfaction with the voting experience, this method may improve voter turnout in elections.  This method may also encourage more potential leaders to dare run for elected office.  Democracy is improved!!!   A better world!!!!  

Thank you for your continuing service to the People of Kentucky and the world.

Respectfully,

john r. schmidt, Master of Science

NCAD Corporation      http://ncad.net

john@ncad.net