A Tale of Two Cities
"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." So opens the Charles Dickens classic novel referring to London and Paris during the French Revolution. But this tale involves two very American cities: Juneau, Alaska and Atlanta, Georgia. And depending on your perspective, this is still the "best/worst of times", especially for those candidates who are awaiting their election results.
"...the best of times..."
Today (23-Nov-2022), election officials in Alaska plan to finalize tabulations under the state's ranked-choice voting system. During a live broadcast, both the candidates and the viewers should learn who has won the US Senate and US House races in that state. And this is a BIG deal when compared to the Georgia US Senate runoff. RCV allows voters to select multiple candidates for a race ranking them in the voter's order of preference. And this is a HUGE advantage, not only for the voters, but for the candidates and the election officials as well. For voters, it's no longer a "lesser of two evils", "hold your nose and pull the lever" sort of decision. You choose your favorite candidate as your first choice, but instead of having to return to the polls because your chosen candidate did not win, any potential runoff has already been decided. That's a savings of potentially millions of dollars! No more of the smarmy car-salesman, er, political candidate spots for another six weeks. One candidate didn't receive enough votes? Remove the candidate who received the least count of first-choice votes and re-count using their second-choice candidate. For candidates, it saves time and money because they won't need to continue their campaigns for another six weeks.
"Spirits turned bitter by the poison of envy, always angry and dissatisfied. Even the lost ones, the frightened and mean ones, even the ones with the devil inside."
"...the worst of times..."
In Georgia, the race for a seat in the US Senate has been forced into a runoff by Libertarian Chase Oliver who carried enough votes to prevent either of his Old Party opponents from attaining an outright victory. Personally, I think this is a good thing (and not just because we each represent the same political party). First, the fact that Chase Oliver secured more than two percent of the votes cast in Georgia's US Senate race evinces the idea that voters are tiring of the tribal us-versus-them, epithet-spewing cage match that has become the standard fare in American politics over the past few decades. Second, because Georgia law stipulates that a runoff election is required if no single candidate secures 50% of the vote, voters in Georgia are now subjected to an additional six weeks of highly produced campaign ads running ad nauseum until early December, and that costs money. While it's money from the seemingly bottomless coffers that each of the Old Parties retains, when this runoff election is over, potentially millions of dollars will have been spent simply so that one political party can say "gotcha". But anyone who watches a family budget will tell you that the money they are spending COULD be used for far more important things later on. According to Chase (yes, I've spoken to him personally), the majority of the vitriol he has received essentially comes down to voters who are now angry at being required to vote one more time for the same race.
"People who judge without a measure of mercy, all the victims who will never learn. Even the lost ones you can only give up on, even the ones who make you burn."
I am an analyst and a statistician by profession. One of the aspects of my position is to find the most efficient methods to accomplish the goals set out by my bosses. Ranked-choice voting does not resolve every problem we have with our elections, but it absolutely makes both voting and vote tabulation far more efficient, and it saves money. With all of the other problem areas that COULD be addressed with those funds, efficiency is just an added benefit; saving time and money is the bottom line.