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Alameda County is the Unofficial Poster Child of Ranked-Choice Voting’s Failures

Waiting a week for the final presidential election results in 2020 was frustrating enough. Imagine thinking that your candidate won and then nearly two months later you learn that there was a computer glitch and, just kidding, the least-popular candidate won instead. 

You’d be outraged because that is outrageous

But that’s exactly what happened in Alameda County in California, and it’s what will likely happen again if ranked-choice voting spreads to more counties and states. 

Ranked-choice voting requires voters to rank each of the candidates in order of preference. During tabulation, if no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and the counting rounds continue until there’s a winner. Unfortunately, as was the case in the 2018 Maine Second Congressional District election and the most recent election in Alaska, that winner is not always the most popular candidate or party. 

In Alameda County, Nick Resnick was declared the winner of a local school board race. Fifty days later, after an organization ran a third-party recount of the vote, it was revealed there was an issue with the algorithm, and it resulted in an error—the error being Resnick’s victory. Mike Hutchinson, who finished third, is now the winner. After this botched election, the Board of Supervisors is directing a recount of every election using ranked-choice voting, including Mayor of Oakland. 

So, why the sudden push for ranked-choice voting across the country? As was the case with Zuckerbucks, the president’s voter mobilization executive order, and failed legislation to effectively federalize elections, there are clear winners and losers with these actions and policies—and the winners are certain candidates, not American voters. 

Trust in elections is already low. Ranked-choice voting is unnecessarily confusing, deeply flawed, and should be banned. 

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