Now that the City of Eastpointe has signed a Consent Decree (which included a Memorandum of Understanding) with the Department of Justice, and that Consent Decree has been approved by a US District Court Judge, it is time to implement Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV). On June 4, 2019, the City issued a Press Release.
The City is continually working on an education plan for ranked-choice voting. A website, www.VoteEastpointe.com has been put together to share informatoin as efficiently and effectively as possible. This video is also a quick explanation of the ranked-choice voting process. Also, the City put together a succint flyer describing ranked-choice voting.
FairVote has created a new video about why ranked-choice voting is so important. Please watch it below.
This November 5th, we have a municipal election. The Mayoral election will use our regular style of voting, but the City Council's election of two seats will use ranked-choice voting. To vote using RCV, rank all of your candidates in order starting with one. The City then counts the vote using rounds, eliminating the lowest vote-getter one-at-a-time until there are only two winners who receive more than one-third of the total votes (the other third is all of the other votes).
We have put together plans with Fair Vote and Rank MI Vote, in addition to our consultant Grace Ramsey. Fair Vote shared a great link with me explaining how votes are counted in multiple winner elections (the example the link uses is with three winners, while our election will have two). Another great resource for information is the Ranked Choice Voting Center.
Frequently Asked Questions
NOTE: The questions and answers below were written by me, and not by the City or a contractor
- When is the election?
- The election is Tuesday, November 5, 2019, and the polls will be open 7am-8pm as usual.
- Also, because Proposal 3 passed in November 2018, all voters will be able to absentee vote without a reason.
- Who is being elected using ranked-choice voting?
- Only the two seats on the City Council will be elected using ranked-choice voting.
- The Mayor election will be our traditional style of voting.
- Are we always going to be using ranked-choice voting (RCV)?
- The Consent Decree with the US Department of Justice lasts for four years, which will cover two regularly scheduled City Council elections.
- After the Consent Decree expires, it will depend on what the State Law is, if RCV continues. Currently, RCV is against State Law, but the Federal government supercedes State Law, and that is why we are able to utilize RCV. Also, the agreement with the US Department of Justice is to change our Charter language. Assuming that State Law changes before the Consent Decree expires, we will continue utilizing RCV. If State Law changes, the only way to go back to the traditional method of voting would be to have a citywide Charter Amendment referendum.
- Why are we using ranked-choice voting?
- The US Department of Justice sued the City on January 10, 2017, and this new voting method is the result of that lawsuit. A Consent Decree was signed between the two parties.
- How many votes does a candidate need to win?
- Our City Council election this year will have four candidates on the ballot (a voter can still vote for write-in candidates), and two of them will win. In a traditional-style election, it would be possible for a candidate to win with 25%+1 support, assuming all the others receive 25% or less of the vote. This also means that both winners could have been elected by the same 25%+1 of people, thus creating a scenario where only 25%+1 of voters elected the two candidates.
- With this new style, it is guaranteed that the two winners have a majority of the support of the electorate. The two winners will need 33.3%+1 (one-third plus one to be exact) of the vote each, to be elected, meaning that 66.6% or more of voters will be represented. Ranked-choice voting results in proportional representation, as opposed to majority rule.
- Will ranked-choice voting create more friendly elections?
- In theory, it should. The reason it should, is because candidates can angle for a second-choice or third-choice vote. If they know they cannot win the first-choice vote of a resident, they can try to be #2 or #3. With a traditional election, this option would not be available.
- Am I required to rank all candidates?
- No, you are not required to rank all candidates. You can rank only one candidate, or up to four. Ranking more than one candidate will not hurt your first-choice candidate. It is more worthwhile for a voting to rank all candidates than to rank less than all of them.