By Richard Gomez
Vote counting from the local to national level deserves a really good shake-up. Elections should more accurately reflect the voters’ needs and desires. The Rank Choice Voting System and Proportional Representation are better and would protect our voting rights to elect those who will represent us. The Green Party believes that we need to “Develop publicly-owned, open source voting equipment and deploy it across the nation to ensure high national standards, performance, transparency and accountability; use verifiable paper ballots; and institute mandatory automatic random precinct recounts to ensure a high level of accuracy in election results” and calls to “Establish guarantees that every citizen’s vote counts, and that all U.S. voting systems—including electronic ones—are verifiable, transparent and accurate.”
Fresno’s winner-takes-all voting madness solidifies the current political make-up of this city against the majority of people who continue to suffer in this economic system. In this tale of two cities the wealthier Northern half votes in larger number while those who live Southern Fresno usually stay home.
Jill Stein’s recent attempts have proven that getting an accurate recount vote is difficult. Judges, the media, and those in the political underworld in charge of the county vote tallies proved to be stubborn and difficult. Even Hilary Clinton with her wealth and influence in many states would have had difficulty getting an honest accounting since those in charge of counties or states put up roadblocks to protect their self-interests.
We really need to shake-up Fresno County with a Ranked Choice Voting system that can affect all local public offices from the Boards of Supervisors, Education, all city councils, and Mayors to smaller offices. A candidate needs a majority (50% +1) either through straight accumulation in the initial round or additional votes acquired in subsequent rounds. The candidates with the lowest vote totals are dropped and a voter’s second choice is added to the other candidates and the count is adjusted until a someone succeeds.
Currently, Ranked Choice is used in local elections in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro, California; Takoma Park, Maryland; St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota; Basalt and Telluride, Colorado; and Portland, Maine. This plan has shown candidates to be more considerate to each other with fewer attacks because they have to appeal to a more diverse voting crowd to secure a victory.
Proportional Representation candidates are elected in multimember districts instead of single-member districts, and the number of seats that a party wins in an election is proportional to the amount of its support among voters. In a 10-member district, if the Republicans win 50 percent of the vote, they receive five of the ten seats.
If the Democrats win 30 percent of the vote, they get three seats; and if a third party gets 20 percent of the vote, they win two seats.
Proportional Representation systems would create a lot of changes but are devised to solve the many problems caused by our current voting systems. As a rule, PR voting systems provide more accurate representation of parties, better representation for political and racial minorities, fewer wasted votes, higher levels of voter turnout, better representation of women, greater likelihood of majority rule, and little opportunity for gerrymandering.
More information can be found at www.fairvote.org and at https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/polit/damy/BeginnningReading/PRsystems.htm
Or contact Richard Gomez c/o Fresno County Green Party
1584 N. Van Ness Ave.
Fresno CA 93728
firstname.lastname@example.org or go to Fresno County Green Party Facebook page.
Richard Gomez is a council member of the Fresno County Green Party. Contact him at 559-408- 3320, richardgomez136@yahoo. com, email@example.com or via the Green Party Web site (http://FresnoGreens. localgreenparty.org).