6 Comments
Jun 2, 2023Liked by Steven Hill

Excellent article discussing fusion voting. One aspect not mentioned is the potential impact in states with sore loser laws. In South Carolina, nominating conventions are typically three to four weeks prior to primary elections. Fusion candidates were permitted prior to January 1, 2023. In 2020 a candidate nominated for US Senator by the Constitution Party then filed as a fusion candidate for the Libertarian Party primary. Losing the primary resulted in his name being prohibited from the general election ballot for the Constitution Party.

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Thanks to Hill for an excellent description and extensive history of fusion voting. This method - along with others: approval, star, condorcet - seem to be getting increased attention, especially since ranked choice voting has started to take hold in many places.

It is not unknown in the political arena to largely ignore what one opposes as long as it remains in the background. If it begins to emerge and gain traction - as ranked choice voting seems to be doing - no one wants to appear opposed to a popular and growing trend, so certain familiar tactics arise. Do the supporters of fusion voting, approval voting, etc. truly favor those methods? Or would they rather sew doubt and "muddy the waters" as to which of several methods might be best? When in doubt isn't it best to wait? Wouldn't those claiming to favor fusion voting really rather simply maintain the status quo?

All methods of possibly improving our electoral system should be considered. One voting method, however, has a long (recent too), well-documented track record. And readers of DemocracySOS don't need reminding of what that method is.

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Jun 2, 2023Liked by Steven Hill

Most voters only know their top two choices and their least liked choice. That is why I prefer STAR voting. However, since ranked choice voting is vastly superior to single choice plurality voting, I promote RCV.

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With honest voters, RCV is marginally superior to single-choice plurality voting, but not much of a difference. But in reality, voters know they can't be honest under FPTP. When everyone votes strategically, FPTP's flaws are ameliorated, so the outcome of voting honestly under RCV can actually be worse than voting tactically under FPTP.

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Sep 22, 2023Liked by Steven Hill

Personally, I think that we should look at an example of what a disaggregated or aggregated fusion RCV ballot would look like before we decide whether it's too complex. I'm surprised that no one has made a mockup yet. I look at the Wikipedia article on the Australian Senate, it shows the ballot for the 2016 election for 12 federal senators from Victoria, and it lists 40 parties' ballot lines, with an optional "above the line" tool (aka an RCV version of "straight ticket" voting) to simplify the process.

If Australians are OK with that, why can't we adapt?

Also, I read that the Brennan Center testified this year in favor of HB 3593, which would have disaggregated Oregon's fusion method. If that had passed, that would have gone well with the RCV amendment the legislature sent to the November 2024 ballot.

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My jurisdiction uses fusion, and it's nice, but doesn't really have any substantial impact. We need actual reform of the voting system itself to achieve real change.

'But for the Green Party, ranked choice voting is a better electoral system for promoting its brand and dealing with the spoiler accusations that continually dog smaller parties in the US. A voter can rank a Green candidate first, because that candidate represents their views on climate change and other environmental issues, but in case that Green candidate can’t win (which is 99.9999 percent of the time), the voter can rank a second choice, such as a pro-environment Democrat, as their backup in the “instant runoff.”'

It's unfortunate that the Green Party refuses to participate in fusion and still promotes RCV after all these years, acting against their own best interests. The "voter can rank a second choice" argument is the standard drivel from groups like FairVote and Represent.us that misrepresent RCV as fixing the spoiler effect and making third parties viable, which the Greens credulously accept, but in reality, all RCV does is perpetuate a two-party system.

Votes for the Greens are discarded and those ballots are transferred to the main two parties, preventing them from having any effect on the outcome of election, making third parties even less powerful. Then, if they become stronger, they become spoilers again, taking first-choice rankings away from the "lesser evil", causing them to be eliminated first, and then allowing the "greater evil" to win. It's frustrating how rarely people really understand how RCV works.

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