Chalk up another first for WDC’s energetic PACE Committee, co-chaired by Barbara Noveau and Nancy Walker. PACE worked with both RCV Montgomery and DoTheMostGood MoCo to show 70 Leisure World (LW) Democratic Club activists what Ranked Choice Voting is all about. LW organizer Sandy Zimmett and Club Chair Roger Blacklow spearheaded LW’s participation.
The March 21 event began with a Women’s History Month Tea hosted by the LW Democratic Club and featuring Maryland Democratic Party Chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who provided a fitting introduction to the RCV session by saying that “two popularly elected candidates had their elections subverted.” RCV Montgomery coordinator Michelle Whittaker often points out that had we had RCV in 2000, Al Gore would have been President because it is highly likely that Nader voters would have made Al Gore their second choice, in which case he would have won Florida and the Presidency.
LW voters ranked six snacks we provided for the event. Tea cookies, brownies, macarons, rugelach, and cinnamon buns were on the ballot, while fruit (available at a separate table) became a popular write-in. RCV showed that the process can accommodate write-ins! After carefully considering their palates, their diets, and their food preferences, LW residents cast 66 ballots. No snack emerged with a majority, so ranked choice came into play; the eventual winner was rugelach. The demonstration went smoothly and there were no spoiled ballots, showing once again that RCV is not “complicated’ or “difficult for voters to understand.” While the ballots were being counted, Kate Stewart, Mayor of Takoma Park, talked about her city’s experiences with Ranked Choice Voting, which has been used in some of their local elections since 2007.
Thanks to Michelle and her colleague Ruben LeBron, of RCV Montgomery, for providing and counting the ballots and, along with Kate Stewart, for answering questions after the demonstration. Special kudos to Roger and Sandy for allowing PACE to organize the activity as part of their Women’s History Month Tea. PACE co-chair Barbara Noveau said, “I think we definitely got some converts today.”
On another not-so-cheerful note, the House Ways and Means Committee failed to act on the bill authorizing Montgomery County to choose alternative voting methods, despite 100 percent support from the Montgomery County House delegation. Del. Anne Kaiser, Chair of Ways and Means, voted “yes” in the delegation meeting. Cheers to Del. Eric Luedtke and Sen. Cheryl Kagan for sponsoring the legislation. RCV Montgomery intends to continue its education and advocacy program and work toward passage of RCV legislation in the 2020 legislative session.