Yesterday, all across the country, elections were held. It felt almost nothing like the last big election cycle, but that’s probably largely because, as an off-year election, this time, it was local (read that in your best movie trailer voice). I know, I know, all politics are local, but these were the localest! Mayors and city councils and parks boards, oh my! And here where I live, we even got to really enjoy the fun of ranked-choice voting!
For those that may not be aware, ranked-choice voting is, supposedly, a way to get more voters active in the primary system, while simultaneously removing the primaries. So, instead of being faced with only a few candidates, only two of which have any real chance (thanks, two-party system), you get to look through a slew of candidates, a number of which have a shot because they’re affiliated with one of the two parties normally in power. And instead of voting for each position once, you get the option of voting for each position multiple times, as long as your vote is different each time.
Personally, I looked at the ranked-voting as assembling a fantasy legislation team. Clearly, my first choice is whoever I’d want to be my starter. Second choice is the person I’d want to be fresh to come off of the bench (sadly, no judges for my ballots, which would have really helped that analogy). And third choice is the the person you put on your watch list, so that you can see how much they’re outperforming the people you actually drafted.
Another aspect of my local election is that, at least for some positions, there’s an incredibly low filing fee to get your name onto the ballot. This meant that not only did we have a pirate captain in the running, but we also had a pirate party (yes, those were two distinct entries on the ballot). My favorite fringe candidate was the guy running for mayor on a platform to be the “last mayor” of my city. Of course, he was running for the opportunity to eradicate the position of mayor, and not because he knew that the world’s demise was approaching. If he had, I would totally have placed him somewhere in my ballots.
Of course, all through this, I also got to relive the joy of being in school, as, at least where I voted, it was all done through the magic of Scantron. Fill in the bubble, let the machine read your results, and go about your merry way. But, just like in school, if you don’t fill the bubble correctly, it could invalidate the entire thing (I’m fairly certain that Scantron forms will be the real reason SkyNet activates and destroys us all). Unlike in school, there just wasn’t enough questions to allow you to ignore them overall, and draw a picture instead.
Probably for the best. I might have been tempted to pretend I was in Toronto, and just drawn a crack pipe in my vote for mayor.