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Houghton asked to consider support for ranked voting

Resident Craig Waddell asked Houghton’s Election Commission to consider the use of ranked voting at Monday’s meeting, and said a motion to consider support for the concept should be a part of the special election being held next May. The vote is being called to fill an open seat on the City Council until the November 2022 general election.

Ranked voting is not approved by the State of Michigan, but the City of Ann Arbor is pushing for other municipalities to call for the change. Waddell says it is a matter of local control.

What Ann Arbor’s doing is kind of like what was just debated about short-term rentals. It’s basically ‘home rule.’ That should be decided at the municipal level.

Ranked voting requires you to select more than one candidate and weight each by preference. Voters would be asked to have a first, second, and third option, perhaps all the way up to seven. The winner is the one who can appeal to the broadest coalition of people, even if they are not the first choice for everyone. It can be very effective in deciding from a crowded field.

There are drawbacks, though. Tabulation machines are not set up to accept ranked voting. New York City debuted the concept in its mayoral primaries this year, and there were huge errors in vote tabulation. It’s more complicated than selecting one candidate, or a set number of candidates on a ballot.

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