Republican challenger in Montana Senate race was endorsed by his rival

Oh, I’m not predicting a result so much as wishing that third parties couldn’t be spoilers. I don’t want to deny them ballot access, and I do want people to just vote for who they want, but once that’s done if no one has a majority, they should just make people choose between the top two. Plus I think that a candidate should win a majority of votes, not just a plurality.

Are you down for instant-runoff?

As of right now Tester has a majority.

Jon Tester - 237,986 - 50.1%
Matt Rosendale - 223,687 - 47.1%
Rick Breckenridge - 13,563 - 2.9%

I prefer a second election, but I prefer instant runoff to plurality wins.

There are a lot of election systems better than what we have, and many of them prevent third parties from being spoilers. All of them have flaws (as mathematically proven by Arrow), but some are more or less flawed than others.

Mathematically speaking, there are some systems which are strictly better than IRV. That said, in the real world, IRV is still probably the best option (or at least, one of the best two). Because the most important requirement for a voting system is that people trust it, and for that, people need to understand it. Something like a Condorcet system might work for the awards voting for science fiction books, because science fiction fans are a bunch of nerds, but it’d never fly with the general public, because too many people wouldn’t understand it. IRV or approval voting, though, people could understand and get behind.

I think we’ll have to see how ranked voting results go in the few jurisdictions in the US trying that system out, before we can definitively say that’s the way to go. Sadly, America proves to the world on a regular basis that stuff that works elsewhere quite well works much less well when we get our fingers ahold of it.

The county I live in tried IRV once, with disastrous results. To start with, despite an extensive information/outreach campaign, entirely too many voters didn’t get it. Far worse, there were two qualified candidates in the Assessor/Treasurer race along with one dingbat (the sort who runs for something in every election, generally because of a grievance or obsession that has nothing to do with the office in question). So many voters listed him as #2 or #3 because they knew his name that when the dust settled, he came out on top. He survived a recall — only to lose in the next primary — but in the four years he held the office he completely demoralized the department and cost the county several million dollars in anti-harassment awards and other fines.

Granted, the aberrant result could possibly have been mitigated by a better implementation; still, the Ninth Circle will become a ski resort before IRV is tried here again.

Aside: OttoDaFe, I love your custom title. Now where’s that wrench?