The argument of the letter writer Daniel Wing for the caucus system (July 2nd) compared to the Ranking-Choice-Voting (RCV) contains some very good points. We have to find a way to talk politics with our neighbors. We have to set a good example for our children. We have to work to find the best candidates who represent us at all levels, taking everyone’s opinion into account.
However, not everyone’s opinion is heard in a caucus system. Caucuses are time consuming. They transform the voting process, which can currently be carried out quickly at any time during election day (or beforehand with early / mail-in voting), into a process that starts at a certain hour and leaves no room for people’s lives. The voices of those who are not physically present are not heard. Perhaps in an ideal world, everyone leaves work at 5 p.m. and has the opportunity to take their children to an hour-long political event.
But in the real world, thousands of voting age people are working in our community during this time. Restless or sick children, or those involved in extracurricular activities that require chauffeur from place to place, prevent parental participation. The net result of this is that those with better living standards (i.e. retirees, those with 9-5 office jobs) are overrepresented and the opinions of those who are sick / disabled work in retail / restaurants and on the front lines (like police, fire brigade, Medicine) are underrepresented. This throttling of the diversity of opinion hurts us all.
RCV allows for greater participation. It essentially automates the process of a caucus (where supporters of non-winning candidates vote for their second, third, and fourth choices if the candidate they elected is eliminated). Maybe you can’t talk to people right away and put pressure on them to vote for a candidate, but the choice shouldn’t be a spontaneous decision. Call and meet candidates at events and think carefully about their positions. Talk to friends / neighbors early on about second and third choice candidates. And let them vote in the way that best suits their life so that we can hear from everyone, not just a few.