Protecting Your Right to Vote
I worked the 2012 presidential election in the Utah County Elections Office. I know from firsthand experience that Utah’s elections are secure. I also know that expanding ballot access and preventing election fraud are not mutually exclusive goals. We can—and should—do both! But we cannot do either one at the expense of the other. Here are the principles I will follow regarding any election-related legislation:
I will fight against any bill that prevents more legitimate votes than fraudulent ones.
I will protect the independence of our county election offices from partisan political interference.
I will support requirements such as voter IDs so long as any citizen can get an acceptable ID for free. Requiring a citizen to pay a fee for an ID is an unconstitutional poll tax.
I will fight to implement a statewide ranked-choice voting system to make sure every vote counts—and save us from the expense of costly primary elections.
I will oppose gerrymandering and other forms of election cheating.
In our recent municipal election, I gave my daughter my “I voted” sticker to wear. I’m looking forward to the day, sixteen years from now, when she’ll earn one of her own. To make sure we can all enjoy that proud, patriotic parent moment, I am running for the Utah House today. A vote for Daniel Craig Friend is a vote for secure and inclusive elections.
You lose my vote on the ranked choice voting issue. It paves the way for unqualified persons to be elected against the majority vote of the citizens.
Julia, that’s simply not true. The whole point of ranked-choice voting is that NO ONE can win WITHOUT a majority! A winner in RCV will always, always have over 50% of the final-round votes. In our current system, candidates can and do win with percentages in the 40s. That’s not a majority. That’s a unified minority defying the majority. Ranked-choice voting solves this problem.
Obviously, ranked choice voting is not well-understood. I think early stages of the process should making sure we understand how it would work, and what options may be considered in implementation. Unfortunately, simplified examples of runoffs between Disney characters or past presidents don’t fully explain the mechanics. How does this work in primary elections vs general elections? Is it realistic to eliminate primary elections without having an overwhelming number of competing candidates on the general election?
What if I:
Support a minor party, but want to make sure my vote does not go for a particular major party candidate?
Support a major party, but don’t agree with some candidates for that party?
Support a major party, but my preferred candidate doesn’t make it through the primary?
Only have one candidate I could support, and don’t want to vote for anyone but that candidate?
Robert, these are great questions. Let me try to answer them.
1. If you don’t want to support a particular candidate(s) (of whatever party), simply don’t rank them. Leaving the space next to that candidate blank will ensure that your vote will never count for them.
2. This is exactly what RCV is for! Rank other parties’ candidates ahead of the major party you generally support. Each race will have its own ranking, just like each race has its own vote tally today.
3. This will depend on exactly what rules we adopt regarding primaries. RCV allows us the option of having MULTIPLE candidates from each party on the final ballot, which potentially eliminates the need for primaries altogether.
4. As with #1, leave blank any candidate you can’t support—even if that’s most or all of them. If your preferred candidate gets eliminated in this case, your vote wouldn’t go to supporting any other candidate.
Does that answer all your questions?
Thank you for your prompt reply. After reviewing your website I moved on to reading websites for candidates running for other positions farther down the ballot.
I saw that Aaron Davidson, running for county clerk has links on his webpage answering some of my questions about how this works in real elections, including what happens if I follow the very logical recommendations you gave to the questions I listed.
Unfortunately, and I truly did not know this until after I posted my inquiry above, the links indicate that the true answers were disturbingly different from the common-sense answers you gave above, which indicates that the Instant Runoff Voting algorithm Utah uses doesn’t interpret those common-sense voting patterns in ways that actually accomplish the voter intent.
I highly recommend that you read through the detailed study of the pilot Utah conducted on RCV and take that into account in your future positions on this issue. I was hopeful about RCV, but now I’m seriously concerned.
IRV produced a higher percentage of cases 18% in Utah in which the winner did not have more than 50% of the votes than Utah has had historically with non IRV votes 16%, a significant failure in a system that should prevent non-majority wins.
Leaving blanks in the ballot disturbs the logic and can result in your ballot being legally discarded initially or during the runoff. It also means that the winner may not gain a majority of votes.
In some cases voting for someone first would have prevented them from winning, or voting for someone last would have caused them to win. That counter-intuitive result is particularly disturbing.
Second place candidates don’t necessarily win the second round in elections with two seats available (council seats). Also weird, and very frustrating.
In one case the candidate who would have beaten every other candidate in a head-to-head match-up did not win, indicating that with IRV the spoiler effect is alive and well, much to the detriment of everyone else.
I still think it’s confusing, and the more I understand it, the more confused about it I get, which isn’t a good sign.
Robert, I think you may have come across some propaganda that distorts the facts. But it is true that anything that can be done, can be done poorly, including RCV. I am running to make sure it’s done well. For example, blank spaces disturbing the logic is a fixable problem. So are the adjustments that need to be made in a race where traditionally you would “vote for up to two” candidates. I have used Ranked-choice voting in the past and experienced firsthand how effective it is. It can be done well in Utah.