Financial Focus: Ranked Choice Voting: 10+1=101?.

Financial Focus: Ranked Choice Voting: 10+1=101?.

By: Professor Anthony Rivieccio MBA PFA


Over the course of the last several years in New York City. we have seen a moving change in our citizens and the way they are voting.

We have become, as some would say, much more Progressive, than in any time in our City Governance. Others would say, we are going back in time!.

Yes, an oxymoron has taken place this election season! We have gone back to the Future! Think of Abobtt & Costello 13 x 7=28 skit ( or go to YouTube), but this math coming up, is both real- and from the future of the past- and yes, it really does add up to 28, and it's called, Ranked Choice Voting.

Last week, voters decided to amend the city’s constitution to operate under a new ranked-choice voting system, which allows voters to rank their top five candidates on the ballot according to preference.

According to the NY Board of Elections, The new ballot structure will eliminate New York’s traditional runoff elections, which take place for citywide offices if no candidate garners at least 40 percent of the vote. The new ranked-choice system in primary and special elections for mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, and city council begins in January 2021.

Under a ranked-choice system, voters rank up to five candidates on the ballot. Voters would not be forced to rank every candidate -- they could still choose just one if they want. A candidate who receives a majority of first-choice votes would win the election.

If there is no majority winner, the last place candidate would be eliminated and any voter who had that candidate as their top choice would have their vote transferred to their next choice. This process would repeat until only two candidates remain, and the candidate with the most votes then would be the winner.

Ranked-choice voting has sometimes resulted in unorthodox campaign tactics -- including groups of candidates forming alliances against competitors to win the second- or third-place votes.

Or, as in some cases, going as far back as  20 - 30 years ago, it can be manipulated for racism or elimination

In 1999, a Ms. Trotta , for example, in the Northeast Bronx, received 1,644 of nearly 4,000 votes cast in the Board 8 school board ranked choice elections.

According to The New York Times in their 1999 coverage , " three poll workers at one polling site in the 82d Assembly District in the largely white northern part of the district met in secret a half hour before polls opened and agreed to write Ms. Trotta's name on about 29 of the paper ballots. At another polling site, the complaint continued, poll workers added Ms. Trotta's name to 56 ballots. The voters at those sites actually cast the votes".

According to the US Justice report,   at least 100 ballots had Ms. Trotta's name already written on them.

The Federal complaint also found that poll workers gave Ms. Trotta's campaign literature to voters when they arrived to cast their ballots, in violation of election law.

The famed Stancik report also noted that the son of one poll worker, Marie Bonnano, was listed as having voted for Ms. Trotta even though he told investigators that he had been out of town. And the Stancik report said Marie Pennini and Christina La Forgia, two poll workers at a center for the elderly in Throgs Neck, admitted to writing Ms. Trotta's names on several ballots. They told investigators that they overheard James Vacca, a former school board member and the district manager of the local community board, giving these instructions to somebody else.
( Source: 
https://www.nytimes.com/1997/04/04/nyregion/us-sues-election-board-on-school-district-vote-tampering.html)

According to Newspaper Gotham Gazette, when covering old NYC School Board Ranked Choice Voting suggests it is a great idea " If you're seeking confusing ballots, narrow margins of victory, and hand-counted votes,look no further than the contests for New York City's 32 community school boards. It takes weeks to get the results, and many befuddled voters don't understand how to mark their ballots". The Gazette determined " The school board elections employ a proportional voting system. When they go to the polling place, the voters rank those running for nine at-large seats in order of their preference on paper ballots, marking a 1 by their first choice, a 2 by their second and so on up to nine candidates".

According to New York State Former Assemblyman Steven Sanders, a Manhattan Democrat who chaired the Education Committee, at the time, said, "the proportional voting system was designed to prevent a majority, white or black or whatever, from controlling each and every seat on a school board."

Now not withstanding the " corruption" that took place in local school boards from the 1970s to the 1990s, The LA Times, in their reporting, realized, as early as 1986,  that the " get in process- the ranked choice voting process", was easy to pass through. The Times said,  " Only a handful of eligible voters participate in school board elections--a mere 6% in the last round, in 1986--which means local political organizations can easily marshal the several hundred ballots they need to put their candidates on the board" 
source (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1988-11-30-mn-643-story.html%3f_amp=true)

So, I think I know why, after this election,  I will have so many people to speak to, that will be struggling with the math of retirement :
They will think Abbott & Costello are right!

Professor Anthony Rivieccio, MBA PFA, is the founder and CEO of The Financial Advisors Group, celebrating its 24th year as a fee-only financial planning firm specializing in solving one’s financial problems. Mr. Rivieccio, a recognized financial expert since 1986, has been featured by many national and local media including: Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, The New York Post, News 12 The Bronx, Bloomberg News Radio, BronxNet Television, the Norwood News, The West Side Manhattan Gazette, Labor Press Magazine, Financial Planning Magazine, WINS 1010 Radio, The Co-Op City News, The Bronx News, thisisthebronX.info and The Bronx Chronicle. Mr . Rivieccio also pens a financial article called " Money Talk". Anthony is also currently an Adjunct Professor of Business, Finance & Accounting for both, City University of New York & Monroe College, a Private University. Financial Focus Interactive is now an app and a place where one can: Read, Listen, Watch Talk & Learn about Financial Solutions with like minded people and a live financial advisor. Financial Focus Interactive app can be found on the Google Play Playstore or on or internet app at: https://www.financialfocus.app For financial assistance, Anthony can be reached at (347) 575-5045.