A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Final Ranked-Choice Voting Results

We have a new mayor! And though he wasn't my first choice - though he has extensive experience in Augusta, he hasn't been particularly involved in recent issues in City Hall - I think he'll be a quick study and a good leader.

I'm heartened that the big money of the Democratic machine lost their expensive gamble to exact revenge for the Maine State Pier humiliation (suckas!).

I'm also heartened that candidates Dave Marshall, Nick Mavodones, and Jill Duson will continue their service on the city council, and that Markos will soon be busy leading the next phase of re-connecting Franklin Street.

Some final observations on the ranked-choice dynamics follow below. For the details, check out Jack Woods's tabulation of how the instant runoff reallocations played out, and Seth Koenig's round-by-round tally of the leaders.

  • None of the instant runoff rounds rearranged the rankings of the leading candidates. Ballots were reallocated more or less in proportion to the original standings, and candidates were eliminated in the exact same order of their standings in the first round of ballot-counting. The candidate with the 3rd-fewest 1st-choice votes got eliminated 3rd, and the candidate with the 4th-fewest 1st-choice votes got eliminated 4th, and so on.

  • For each eliminated candidate, the majority of their ballots were reallocated to one of four leaders (Brennan, Strimling, Marshall, or Mavodones). Of these, Brennan received the majority the most often, which meant that he broadened his lead as the rounds progressed.

  • Dave Marshall generally did better than Mavodones in capturing 2nd-choice votes, but never so much that he could catch up and capture the 3rd place position.

  • The most substantial boosts in Brennan's lead over Stimling came in round 11 and in round 14, when Miller and Marshall were eliminated. In each case, roughly twice as many voters picked Brennan than Strimling as their next-choice candidate.

    Dave Marshall's elimination in the next-to-last round gave Mike Brennan a particularly big boost towards the 50% threshold: 978 of Dave's ballots (which included a number of Miller's ballots, at this point) were reallocated to Brennan, as opposed to just 462 to Strimling.

    Before Marshall's ballots were reallocated, Brennan was leading with 36% to Strimling's 30%; after, with Marshall's votes, Brennan had a much wider lead: 43% to 34%.
So what's the purpose of a ranked-choice election, when the outcome that included all 15 choices turned out to be the same as the outcome that only looked at our 1st choices?

I can't speak for everyone, but I appreciated the ability to be able to vote for several candidates, to express to the eventual winner that, while I would support him, I liked the ideas and experience of a few other candidates a bit more. Particularly because voters who had picked Markos and Dave Marshall as their first choices contributed significantly to the eventual victory of Mike Brennan, the new mayor ought to be receptive to those guys' smart-growth, pro-housing policy ideas.

OK, election's over. Time to write about streets and better public spaces again...

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