WCCO's Esme Murphy isn't a fan of ranked-choice voting


In her latest blog entry, WCCO's Esme Murphy characterizes ranked-choice voting as "Minnesota Nice at its worst" and calls for a return to the old-fashioned one-vote-for-each-voter way of doing things.

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Her stance stands in contrast to that of R.T. Rybak, who says he thinks Minneapolis's first experiment with RCV was a success.

First, here's an excerpt from Murphy's blog:

One: It was confusing.

Two: It took far longer to count the ballots than supporters said it would.

Three: It was a fix for a system that wasn't broken.

That is my ballot. What's yours?

What will be the final cost of the overtime and the special Florida consultants who were brought in to oversee the extravaganza?...

Ranked-choice supporters say their system eliminates negative campaigning. And it does. Candidates can not afford to alienate another candidates' backers because they need those second place votes.

But I would argue the result is a false positive, the impression that the candidates are all on the same or similar pages. Candidates withheld drawing sharp contrasts or critiques of one another that would have been helpful to voters.

It was Minnesota Nice at its worst -- a frozen veneer of civility, when in a "normal" election the gloves would have been off. Give me the no holds barred sparring of a real election. And please give me the results straight up.

Compare Murphy's column with a recent piece by MPR's Curtis Gilbert entitled, "Ranked-choice voting gets mostly good reviews."

In it, Rybak says the increased level of civility promoted by RCV is actually a benefit of the system, not a drawback:

The lack of rancor was refreshing, said outgoing Mayor R.T. Rybak.

"That says a lot about the city," said Rybak, who added that this ranked-choice experiment worked.

Some observers have complained all the positivity made it difficult to distinguish between the candidates. Rybak rejected that argument.

"People aren't dumb," he said. "Give them two positive reasons about why to be for you. Somebody else makes their case. People can compare and contrast without ripping each other's esophagus out."

No matter where you come down on RCV, leave it to Minneapolitans to get meta with their political arguments during a municipal election cycle where the leading mayoral candidates sang "Kumbaya" at the end of their last debate.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]