Gaming The System

As a supporter of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), I wish to clarify and disagree with Jane Kwiatkowski’s letter of support for STAR voting (“Upon a Star,” 9/26).

Her main point (i.e., voters can specify choices by assigning points) is sort of true. You can assign varying points to indicate your relative preference between candidates. Or you could give each favored candidate five points, and zero points to the opposition.

STAR allows voters to come up with any scheme they want. Does this give all voters equally weighted votes? Did the voter who submitted all fives and zeros to candidates have more influence than a 5-4-3 point scheme?

Those who like to game the system will enjoy STAR’s open invitation to create their own voting scheme.

There is no perfect voting system; they each have strengths and weaknesses. And, most important, they have different definitions of “winner.” The algorithm and mathematics gives each system a bias towards electing a certain type of winner.

STAR’s scoring system seeks the broadest appeal across the voting spectrum: the compromise candidate minimally acceptable to all. RCV’s ranking system seeks a coalition of like-minded voters, which produces a more partisan winner.

We need a better voting system than the 18th-century abomination we’re using. Replacing it should be a community decision. Which system would you prefer?

James Stauffer