January 15, 2023
Sidney Powell Defends Against Legal Sanctions!
In 2021, Sidney Powell was sanctioned by a Michigan judge for a case Sidney brought challenging the 2020 election. The Michigan judge even recommended that the state bar look into disbarring Sidney from the practice of law. Sidney appeared before the Sixth Circuit Court in November 2022 to appeal the Michigan sanction.
Sanctioning an attorney is highly unusual. While lawyers will tell you there are lots of frivolous and sloppy legal cases filed by attorneys, the attorneys themselves rarely get sanctioned. Sanctioning Sidney for the suit she filed, (bolstered by all its accompanying affidavits — affidavits which Sidney didn’t even have to attach to an opening complaint) is an abuse of the legal system. For the court to go even further and suggest that Sidney’s license be revoked so that Sidney can no longer practice law is even more outrageous. Whether or not you agree with Sidney Powell, these punitive actions should disgust you as they are obviously without merit and politically motivated.
Ranked Choice Voting Is a Bad Choice!
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is being promoted as a fair and transparent election system, but it is hardly that. Ranked choice voting is confusing, and makes it harder to research the policy positions of the multiplicity of candidates on the ballot since voters will be expected to vote for more then just one candidate. The complicated process of counting ranked choice ballots will lock in the necessity of using new, more sophisticated voting machines, and prevent the hand counting of ballots.
Just like Lisa Murkowski won re-election in the Alaska Senate race due to ranked choice voting, Mitt Romney knows that passing statewide ranked choice voting in Utah is critical to his chances of getting re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2024. Remember: ranked choice voting helps moderate middle-of-the-road candidates win, while gutsy, independent leaders lose.
Read Part Two of the Heritage Foundation’s Ranked Choice Voting critique to understand why RCV is such a bad choice for our political elections.
Ranked Choice Voting Is a Bad Choice -The Heritage Foundation (part II)
Clarity Obstruction and Disenfranchisement
Ranked choice destroys clarity of political debate and forces voters to cast ballots in hypothetical future runoff elections. When we have Republicans versus Democrats versus Greens and Libertarians, we know who is running against whom and what the actual distinctions are between the candidates on issues. Second- or third-choice votes should not matter in America; they do not provide the mandate that ensures that the representatives in a republic have the confidence and support of a majority of the public in the legitimacy of their decisions.
Not only is ranked choice voting too complicated, it disenfranchises voters, because ballots that do not include the two ultimate finalists are cast aside to manufacture a faux majority for the winner. But it is only a majority of the voters remaining in the final round, not a majority of all of the voters who actually cast votes in the elections.
Ballot exhaustion is not just a minor problem with ranked choice voting. According to the 2015 study, “a substantial number of voters either cannot or choose not to rank multiple candidates, even when they have the ability to do so.” Instead, many voters “opt to cast a vote for their top choice, neglecting to rank anyone else.”
Additionally, some jurisdictions that have implemented ranked choice voting also limit the number of candidates that can be ranked. All of the localities in the study limited voters to ranking three candidates—even when there were more candidates in the race. Thus, “if each of a voter’s top three candidates is eliminated, his or her ballot becomes exhausted and, as a result, is excluded from the final total.”
In other words, a ranked choice election will, in the end, boil down to only two opposing candidates, but many voters (not knowing how the roulette wheel will spin) will not cast ballots between those two choices. That voter ends up with no say in the contest between the final two candidates in the black box elections governed by ranked choice voting.
Of course, had that election been between just those two candidates in the first place, that same voter would have heard debates, listened to the issues discussed, and made an informed choice between those two. With ranked choice voting, a candidate whose support was too marginal to get into public debates may end up winning—eliminating the process that informs the electorate and forcing average American voters into the world of mixed strategy game theory, where they are forced to try to predict the probability that particular candidates that they favor or do not favor will survive multiple rounds of vote tabulation.
Ranked choice voting also provides voters with an incentive to tactically game the system and falsify their preferences for candidates.
For example, if enough Ross Perot voters had listed George H. W. Bush as their second choice over Bill Clinton in 1992, Bush might have won that presidential election instead of Clinton. Since Perot came in third in the race, his votes with Bush as the second choice would have counted for Bush in the second round of vote tabulation.
If you could convince enough other voters to do that, you could potentially eliminate a viable candidate from the next rounds of ballot tabulations—even though he is one of the two candidates in a multiple-member field with the largest plurality of support. As one analyst says, the tactic is to “‘up-vote your lesser-evil candidate and ‘bury’ your lesser-evil candidate’s most viable opponent.”
While this might sound farfetched, in today’s social media world, it would not seem that difficult to implement and coordinate such a strategy, particularly in local elections where there is a much smaller electorate. It is easy to imagine sophisticated insiders and campaign consultants creating and employing such a strategy to reach their candidate’s supporters and voters for second-, third, or fourth-round recalculations of voting results.
The Solution: Runoff Elections
The answer to this gimmickry is runoff elections. In the normal electoral process in the vast majority of states, there is a runoff election several weeks after a general election in which no candidate won a majority of the vote. (N.B. Run-off elections are not necessary. Many statewide elections choose the winner by a plurality of votes cast, not by run-off elections. –DTR PAC)
It is true that some voters might not turn out for a runoff election that is held several weeks after the general election because their preferred candidate did not gather enough votes to be in the runoff. However, the added time window gives potential voters the opportunity to reexamine and reeducate themselves about the character and views on issues of the two candidates who received the largest pluralities in the general election. Voters have a greater opportunity to make an informed choice than with instant runoffs (i.e., ranked choice voting). Runoff elections guarantee that the winner of the runoff election has a genuine mandate from a majority of the voters—a crucial factor in a democratic system.
Runoff elections carry additional costs—but so do primary and general elections. Yet few people suggest abolishing them because of their cost. Consent of the governed matters.
Consent of the governed is what fosters domestic tranquility. When people believe that elections produce clear results between known opposing ideas, people learn to live with results even if they do not like the outcome. The vast number of Americans who are perfectly comfortable with how elections have been run for centuries will likely see ranked choice as a gimmick. When a body politic comes to believe election outcomes are a gimmick, beware.
A few years ago, there was a movement to add “none of the above” to ballots in some states. Ranked choice voting does the opposite—forcing voters who want to have any say to vote for “all of the above.”
Birds of a Feather
For over a decade, we have been warning about the people and institutions who want to fundamentally transform our elections. You should pay close attention to, and be highly skeptical of, anyone who wants to tinker with long-standing and revered electoral institutions, whether that is the people controlling redistricting, voter registration, citizen-only voting, or the Electoral College.
We have detected a pattern. Most of the time, when fundamental transformations to elections are proposed, the people proposing them have two characteristics. First, they think it will help their side win. Second, their ideological perspectives are usually rooted in a transformational extreme: They want to change the rules to manipulate elections outcomes in order to force the public into their distorted vision of a supposedly utopian society.
Foes of the Electoral College, for example, want to undo it because they want large, densely populated cities with their one-party control over election administration determining who becomes the President of the United States. Foes of legislatures drawing district lines oppose the people having control over the process because they want friendly bureaucrats who sit on “independent” redistricting commissions and who are unaccountable to voters drawing lines instead.
In the end, it is all about political power, not about what is best for the American people and for preserving our great republic. So-called reformers want to change process rules so they can manipulate election outcomes to obtain power.
Ranked choice voting is no different.
If you missed Part One of this Article please click the following link: PART ONE
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