Fall River mayor simultaneously loses and wins.

So the guy faces a recall vote because of a scandal involving a snoowl. But the law allows him to run for re-election on the same ballot. He is recalled from office by a 60 percent vote and–in a five-way race–re-elected by a 35 percent vote.

What did he do with the snow owl?


SnoOwl is a company Correia owned and used to defraud investors. Tuesday’s ballot had both the recall vote and the new election for mayor. Correia was recalled and then re-elected on the same ballot.

I’m having trouble understanding this election. What if he WASN’T recalled and another person won the election? If people were voting for a new mayor anyway, what was the purpose of the recall?

I’m confused.

The recall was to remove the current mayor from office. If it hadn’t passed he would have remained mayor and the winner of the mayoral election would not be. Even if it was him he wouldn’t be the new mayor, he’d continue serving his existing term. Beats me why they did this, but it’s Fall River and no one cares. As it turned out they didn’t want him to stay in office but they wanted him to be the new mayor more than they wanted anyone else.

It’s a weird way to run an election, but arguably efficient. The problem, of course, is that the 60% of voters who wanted him removed could not coalesce around one opposition candidate. He’s pretty damn lucky, because if one less person were running against him, he would almost certainly be out.

If this isn’t a clear sign that Ranked Choice Voting is needed, then I don’t know what is.

And this is the second time this has been said about someone named Correia!

I get the conditional election in case the recall succeeds. Elections cost money and incur opportunity costs on voters. This cuts costs by effectively having two special elections in one. It also avoid a disadvantage in having an a very short term appointed mayor between a recall and the next special election for the replacement to be selected. In a smaller town I’d probably support the general concept if it were a ballot measure.

The oddity doesn’t really come to life without the combination of allowing the potential recallee to run and that election being a plurality.

The very simple solution is to not allow the current mayor to be a candidate. If he wants to stay mayor he has to survive the recall vote.

Absolutely. Clear and easy.

What were they thinking?

(Just a rhetorical question.)(My emphasis.)

It probably just never occurred to them that something like this could happen, and so nobody ever bothered to say that he couldn’t.

What they should do is what California tried to do in the gubernatorial recall election in 2003 but a federal court inexplicably struck down. Which is, if you vote to retain the current elected official, you don’t get a vote on the replacement. You essentially cast a vote to keep the current official. You should not get to vote twice.

I don’t think ranked choice voting would have helped. It seems like nearly everyone who voted to keep the mayor also voted for him on the replacement ballot. He was just lucky that there were enough candidates to split the vote.

All the voters took an axe
and gave the mayor forty whacks.
But when the count was said and done
the mayor turned out to have won.

In 2003, California had a Gubernatorial recall election that also seemed weird. Gray Davis needed 51% to remain as Governor but only got 45%. The same ballot offered choices for his replacement and could have been won by a much smaller percentage than Davis got. (IIUC Davis was ineligible to run there due to a term limit rule.)

But instead of a silly low-percent result, California gave a whopping 49% to one of the candidates — Arnold Schwarzenegger.

:confused: How would that have worked? Instead of needing 51%, Davis would have just needed more than the 2nd place guy? In that case he’d have won, since some of the Schwarzenegger voters voted against the recall. If they did NOT use that rule it would have been absurdly unfair against the incumbent party.

That’s not a simple solution. It can lead to a situation where more people vote to keep the incumbent than vote for any alternative. Imagine 49% vote no, but only 40% back the winner of the second question.

But the solution used in this election is unnecessarily complicated. A simpler solution is to just not have the yes/no recall question at all. It’s unnecessary. Do it like in Wisconsin, where there’s just a fresh election for the remainder of the incumbent’s term.

That’s the whole point behind ranked choice voting. Unless everyone else who voted for another candidate had him as their second or third choice, he never would have got to 50+%.

Or just do a runoff with the top two vote getters if no one gets 50%+1 (that’s what we do here.) Of course, there is the added expense of having another election, so may be suboptimal for many municipalities trying to avoid that expense. Easiest solution would be simply not to allow that kind of nuttiness. Ranked voting is great, and I’m for it, but I do think there’d be some expense at educating the electorate. It doesn’t seem to me like a difficult concept to grasp, but evidently a lot of voters seem reticent to adopt it and are confused by it.

Especially impressive given that there were something like 30 candidates.