Elections are about choice, and in Oakland we benefit from Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). This means we get to prefer a few candidates above all others, and also rank our top choices. As an Oakland citizen (Minneapolis has RCV, too), I claim you are rich! You get to provide your first, second and third choices. You have more votes to spend than most other folks! You spread your opinion beyond those normal binary voters (they choose one candidate who wins, and all others lose). You get to spend a preference set, among your favorites and between them and all the rest. CandidateChoice is a cute new tool to help you spend your riches wisely. The rest of this post provides more details as to why this matters.
Most commentators about our election have noticed this, and also provide ranked endorsements:
- East Bay Express
- Oakland Tribune
- San Francisco Chronicle
- San Francisco Bay Guardian
- Post News Group
- Bay Area Reporter
They tell you their top choice, but also mention second, third, … in two cases (East Bay Express and the Oakland Tribune) they even mention their fourth choice! Why would they do this? Because they understand you have more votes to spend, even after you have named your top choice!
Think about pre-election poll results:
- FM3-1: Survey done for Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, October 15, 2014, by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Assoc. (FM3)
- FM3-2: Survey done for OakMayor2014.com, September 8-14, 2014, by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Assoc. (FM3)
- KPIX: Survey done for KPIX5-CBS, October 22, 2014 by SurveyUSA (n=515)
News reports all mention not just the top winner, but how everyone else comes out, because the uncertainty inherent in polls is magnified by RCV!
Some people seem to think that we voters will just be confused by all these opinions and extra voting opportunities. But hey, in Oakland we are hella-Smart! We can understand that other folks have differing opinions, and still want to work something out. RCV gives us a richer vocabulary to work with. Let’s use it!
If you point your browsers at CandidateChoice, you’ll find a visualization tool for combining editorial opinions and poll results, as you choose.
Some preliminary documentation for CandidateChoice can be found attached to it. In brief, you can “dial in” the editorials and polls you’ve read that sound most reasonable, and “dial out” the rest.
If this motivates you to read more of these editorials, that’s already great. If it makes you think further about the poll results, and how they don’t reflect the outcome you’d like on November 5, that’s greater. Also realize each particular CandidateChoice result has some inherent randomness to it; run experiments multiple times.
But if you feel motivated to articulate your own preferences, share them with other Oakland voters, and allow these to be dialed in/out by others, that would be the greatest! A mechanism exists on the CandidateChoice site to do that, too.