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Challenges to Final Five Voting and Our Rebuttals



Challenges to Final Five Voting and Our Rebuttals - Brian Coker | VAV Wisconsin State Volunteer 

 

We have been fortunate enough to take part in hearings in both the Assembly and the Senate. Now that the dust has settled and we have had some time to digest all of the raw testimony and emotions associated with being in the room, I thought it would be good to summarize the arguments laid out for and against.  My intent here is to assess each argument as objectively as possible.  After all, what we are advocating for is a systemic reform that we believe will lead to more productive and rational debate among our elected officials.  This type of healthy conflict and compromise is what makes us collectively better. So, from that perspective, dissent in this venue should be viewed as an opportunity to refine and improve our solutions. I invite each of you to reflect on the arguments below and let us know if you agree or disagree or how you might address the pros and cons of Final Five Voting. I will start out this piece by listing the arguments against Final Five Voting, going from what I view as the least compelling arguments and going to the most compelling. A separate article next month will continue this conversation.  This will eventually shift to another piece outlining the major arguments for Final Five Voting in the same manner. After hearing and reviewing the testimony personally, I am still convinced that Final Five Voting represents one of the best tools to help address governmental dysfunction, though we want you to be the judge as well!

Without further ado, here are the other arguments used against FFV:


Final Five Voting is a ‘solution in search of a problem’


Some opponents of Final Five said that Final Five is unnecessary in our state because a single candidate gets over 50% of the vote in almost every election - which is true in our current system. However, this argument presumes that Final Five is attempting to resolve and eliminate plurality elected candidates.  In other words, it assumes that is Final Five’s primary purpose when, in reality, that is just a side benefit. Most of the proponents of Final Five argue that its primary purpose is to change the way elections work so that politicians who are elected more accurately reflect their constituencies.  By shifting the electoral incentives, they can do what the majority of their constituents want without losing their job. There have been a number of articles looking at how the first Alaskan elections under Final Four have influenced voter turnout, candidate and campaign behavior during the election, and how elected officials have behaved since.  The general theme of these articles is that this reform has increased civility, reduced the influence of shadow money and big money donors, and provided elected officials the ability to act in the interest of their constituents without fear of retaliation from their own parties.

 

Final Five Voting will take longer to tabulate results and will erode trust in elections even more

 

This final argument is, in my view, the strongest argument against this reform, and one that we need to address honestly and with great care. We are at a time when election integrity is often questioned and challenged and our system of government relies upon the public (and politicians) accepting the results as free and fair, representing the will of the voter. 

 

For Final Five Voting to be successful, it needs to be transparent, easily auditable, well understood by election clerks and volunteers, and accepted by both the voting public and the candidates running for election. Fortunately, the evidence from places like Utah and Alaska show that this can be accomplished and that the results can be provided as quickly as they are in traditional elections.

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4 Comments


Sim
Sim
May 12

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Sim
Sim
May 12
Replying to

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