HOUSE REPUBLICANS UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSE RANKED-CHOICE VOTING
News Release from House Republican Caucus, March 1, 2019
HONOLULU, HI – The House Republican Caucus unanimously opposed HB 210 HD1 which would implement ranked-choice voting for all partisan primary elections, special elections, and nonpartisan general elections held in the State of Hawaii. Here's what some of the members had to say about the bill:
"In races throughout the decades, Republican candidates can receive a small number of votes in the Republican primary ballot but win by strong majorities in the general," said Representative Cynthia Thielen (HD50 Kailua, Kaneohe Bay). "This bill would prevent voters from making that choice in the November elections."
"Ranked-choice voting is not the solution to encourage more people to vote," said Representative Val Okimoto (HD37 Mililani Mauka, Mililani)
"The concept of ranked-choice voting has confused everyone from legislators to staff members at the Office of Elections," said Representative Gene Ward (HD17 Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley). "If public officials can't understand it, how are supposed to expect our constituents to? On top of that, under this system, there would be no Congressman Charles Djou.
"According to the Office of Elections' testimony, this system would apply in limited circumstances and cost approximately $585,200," said Representative Lauren Matsumoto (HD45 Schofield, Mokuleia, Waialua, Kunia, Waipio Acres, Mililani) "Our taxpayers' money should work towards making government more efficient, not less."
"We should be creating opportunities to increase voter engagement in Hawaii," said Representative Bob McDermott (Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point) "Ranked-choice voting may deter many of the folks we're trying to reach from registering."
Ranked-choice voting is a method of voting that would let each voter choose their first, second, and third candidate in a contested election. The candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes to the failed candidate will then be eliminated, directing their second-choice votes to the respective candidate. The process continues until one candidate receives a majority.
Bill advances to transform how Hawaii elections are counted
PBN: ...A Maryland-based political action organization is one of the top proponents of HB201, a bill before the Hawaii state legislature that would institute a "ranked choice method of voting for all partisan primary election, special election, and nonpartisan general elections held in the state on or after" Jan. 1, 2020. The bill was introduced by Rep. Joy A. San Buenaventura (D), of the Big Island's House District 4….
Local testimony supporting the bill came from Young Progressives Demanding Action, the Libertarian Party of Hawaii. and Common Cause Hawaii.
The bill received 14 votes in the House Finance Committee to advance, with one no vote from Rep. Bob McDermott. In an email to PBN, McDermott said that HB201, and it's companion bill in the Senate, SB954, would "create an open primary where only the top two candidates, regardless of party, would advance to the General Election."
"Research conducted by my office shows how damaging this change could be to the Republican Party and smaller parties as well," wrote McDermott. "Look at the results of the past four primary elections since the 2011 reapportionment of districts: In 2012, 14 Republican candidates who ran in the primary who would not have been on the November ballot. In 2014, it was 11 Republicans. In 2016, it was 10 Republicans. In 2018, 14 Republicans candidates would not have appeared on the General Election ballot leaving voters with a choice between two Democrats. Significantly, two former Minority Caucus leaders, Andria Tupola and Beth Fukumoto would never have been elected. Similarly, Cynthia Thielen, Lauren Matsumoto, and newcomer Val Okimoto would not have qualified for the November ballot had a Top Two system been in place. Neither proposed legislation is in the best interest of Hawaii and representative democracy."
The Hawaii state Office of Elections on Tuesday submitted testimony stating that "This bill as written, may cost approximately $585,200 by requiring a multi-page ballot. To implement ranked choice voting, our current voting system would require any contest with three or more candidates to be listed multiple times on the ballot." The office recommended that ranked choice voting be limited to special vacancy elections for the office of U.S. Representative....
read ... Bill advances to transform how Hawaii elections are counted
HB210: Text, Status
2013: LA Times: California ‘Non-Partisan’ Primary ‘Weakened Democracy’
2011 Debate on RCV/Instant Runoff: