Choices

Holy hell, this is a mess…

Friends, I stand before you as one of about 27 people in the entire city of Minneapolis not running for Mayor, city council the park board or the school board. This position has come to be revered and celebrated, earning accolades and all kinds of mail asking for my support as any of the thousands of candidates seeks the office to which they have been called…This year.

Ah, but don’t forget that our city fathers have saddled we lucky few voters with the imperative to choicely rank our votes, in essence, picking the trifecta of candidates as if they were greyhounds in the 3rd race at the dog track. Yet, oddly, the payoff may not be as great. Go figure.

So today I was preparing myself–electorally girding my loins, if you will–and doing some final research to make sure the ranked choices I had previously…um…ranked, were indeed the ranks that I wished to choose. And I discovered that I took more exception to the issues of my previous second choice than I thought I had. So I’ve un-ranked or un-chosen Cam Winton in favor of Betsy Hodges for the second spot, even though I think she has great ideas but no idea how to actually achieve them and I think he’s actually thought this thing through but is flying a little too centrist to achieve anything in this town.

Well, let’s be fair. I think that none of the 35 people running for mayor seem to actually understand just how difficult running this city can be. It isn’t a simple matter of stopping one thing to fund something else. Or promising to do something better or influence the school board by using the power of the office to force some change. It won’t work that way. And this BS about growing the city to 500K by 2025 is possible, but probably not feasible if for no other reason than I don’t think the infrastructure can handle it without dumping some serious money into it. And we don’t have that yet.

So okay. I’ve got the first two choices chosen. But I’ve got the third spot empty. You see, this, I think, is the great failing of this whole idea: requiring too many choices, especially from a pool this huge. I’m actually worried that a goofy candidate like “Captain Jack Sparrow” (yes, he’s really running) could pull out some sort of showing simply because people will throw him into the third spot because they don’t know who else to put there.

But you need to understand the process to see how this is going to work: They will tally up the first choice votes and see if anyone gets a majority of the vote. If not, the lowest vote recipient is dropped from the list, and the second choices are added to the pool. This continues until either unicorns and naked dwarves begin running the streets in search of a veggie pizza or some singular candidate receives over 50% of the vote.

Which means that by the end of the counting, the winner will have had a majority of the voting public vote for them. The only problem being that they weren’t necessarily the popular first choice. But what could happen is that half of the voters tomorrow could be in the same predicament I’m in, not finding any of the candidates to be a palatable third choice, so we’ll fill in the circle for “Captain Jack Sparrow.” And when they get to the round where the third choice votes are factored in, we’ve suddenly got some wahoo in office who probably just threw his hat in the ring on a dare from an old frat buddy. But enough about Mark Andrew! (bada-bing!)

It’s the one thing I see that’s wrong with this idea: the assumption is that everyone will go in with three good choices. And as much as I like to think that people will take elections seriously, I know that people don’t think and research and really come up with well-reasoned decisions by the time they head to the polls. And that’s why, when it’s all said and done tomorrow, we’ll have elected a llama.

On the upside, though, there’s supposed to be anywhere between 2 and 28 inches of snow here, so that will probably keep the turnout low…For those of us not running for office, good luck tomorrow!

See you tomorrow.