Shouldn't a majority of voters be able to say no to Voldemort?
Shouldn't a majority of Arlington voters be able to vote before we adopt Ranked Choice Voting?


Arlington’s 2020 Special Town Meeting will consider Article 13. If adopted, Town Meeting will ask the Select Board to submit a Home Rule Petition to the Massachusetts legislature, enacting Ranked Choice Voting for town elections. This would be a straightforward change when applied to a single seat race, but Ranked Choice Voting will take votes away from voters in multi-seat races.

Currently, the Select Board has five members serving staggered three year terms. In two of three years, two candidates are elected to the board. The School Committee has seven members serving staggered three year terms. In two of three years, two candidates are elected to the board, and in the third year three candidates are elected.


What happens when we switch to Ranked Choice Voting when we are electing three candidates? Let’s head over to Platform 9¾ and board the Hogwarts Express to observe their election.

If Hogwarts elects three candidates to the Board of Wizards, using the system we use in Arlington, where voters can use three votes to fill three seats, a Hogwarts voter could choose up to three candidates.

Death EatersVoldemort - Vote For
          3

This ballot would count votes for three candidates:
Ron Weasley             1

Hermione Granger    1

Harry Potter              1

Lord Voldemort         0


If Hogwards switches to a Ranked Choice Voting scheme for electing three candidates, Hogwarts voters would asked to rank their choices. While voters could rank up to five candidates, the ranking would award only one vote to one candidate.

Voldemort
        Ranked Choice Voting

If Hermione Granger is not the fourth place finisher after the first count, this ballot will count for Hermione Granger and only for Hermione Granger:
Ron Weasley             0

Hermione Granger    1

Harry Potter              0

Lord Voldemort         0

If Hermione Granger is the fourth place finisher after the first count, Hermione Granger is defeated and this ballot is transferred to the second choice, Ron Weasley:
Ron Weasley             1

Hermione Granger   0

Harry Potter              0

Lord Voldemort        0


Why does this matter?
If Hogwarts has twice as many wizards as death eaters,  under our current voting system in a race to elect three candidates:

you could end up with voting results like this:
Ron Weasley               996

Hermione Granger    1012

Harry Potter              1006

Lord Voldemort           502

Lord Voldemort is defeated,
and Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, and Ron Weasley are elected.

If Hogwarts has twice as many wizards as death eaters, under a Ranked Choice scheme applied to a race to elect three candidates:

you could end up with voting results like this:
Ron Weasley             332

Hermione Granger    337

Harry Potter              335

Lord Voldemort        502

Ron Weasley is defeated, and Lord Voldemort, Hermione Granger, and Harry Potter are elected.

Question 2

Is this a good time to pass Article 13? After all, Arlington voters supported Question 2 - Ranked Choice Voters for state offices?

No. If anything, it's a bad time to adopt Article 13.
When Arlington voted to support Question 2, they were told the question would have no effect on local elections. Voters were also told "Ranked-choice voting would be used only in races where a single candidate is to be declared the winner and not in races where more than one person is to be elected."

It's a Special Town Meeting. It's the middle of a pandemic. The Special Town Meeting will take place on Zoom. Article 13, as proposed, will make dramatic changes in the way we elect town officials, and it will move forward with a majority vote of Arlington's 252 member Representative Town Meeting.

If Town Meeting wants to move forward with Ranked Choice Voting, they should adopt amendments to exclude races where more than one person is to be elected, and to require the approval of the voters in a referendum before any change to our elections is approved.