I always check out Esratiâ€™s website. In his newest post â€” Why our political candidates generally suck â€” David advocates that there be a change in the Dayton Charter so that Dayton City Commissioners are elected through rank choice voting.Â Esrati writes:
â€œWe are starting the 501(c)(4) Reconstructing Dayton to try to bring sanity and better candidates and forms of government to Montgomery County, weâ€™ve just founded a 501(c)(3) The Modern Policy Institute to work on plans and policies to create a system that actually provides us a chance to select from the best and brightest to make decisions that will affect us all.â€
I like Davidâ€™s rank-choice proposal but I canâ€™t agree that our democracy would be improved if candidates for office were required to pass a test demonstrating their preparedness. David writes:
“Maybe itâ€™s time that we create a test for public office, to make sure that candidates actually know something about the office they are running for, what their responsibilities are and what rules apply to them as elected officials….We donâ€™t require proficiency in Roberts Rules of Order, which most public bodies nominally follow, nor do we require any understanding of public finance (itâ€™s not the same as either business or personal for a multitude of reasons), nor do we have any kind of standing job description or â€œcompany handbookâ€ available to help them do their job well. Itâ€™s almost as if we want our politicians to fail. There are no other jobs that affect this many people and risk so much, that require no preparation, training or qualification. “
To me, that sounds anti-democratic. I responded:
The only way to get a higher quality of elected officials is to somehow repair our dysfunctional system of democracy. Democracy demands: Let the people decide. If the people want to act like asses, then elected asses are what we get. Itâ€™s a small matter that a candidate might not be proficient in Robertâ€™s Rules, or whatever. The big factor that has the largest impact on the quality of the officialâ€™s work is the officialâ€™s overall character.Â Democracy means we have faith in a system that an informed and engaged citizenry will have theÂ discernment to choose leaders of good character and good motive. An informed and engaged citizenry is the only hope for our republicâ€™s survival â€” an alarming thought.
I agree with Esrati that implementing rank choice voting would be a big improvement. Of key significance is its potential to engage and empower many rank-and-file citizens who are now on the sidelines. Implementing a rank choice structure, I believe, could help repair our dysfunctional system.
Now that David Pepper has resigned as Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, a new leader must be selected. Iâ€™ve got to think that if the ODP used a rank choice system, Ohio Democrats would get a more effective leader. (Whatever the voting method, only the 148 Democrats on the ODP Executive Committee will get to vote on the leader for 1.5 million registered Democrats in the state, of these only 66 are directly elected.)
In 2022, the newly elected Central Committee of the MCDP Montgomery will meet at the quadrennial MCDP Reorganization Meeting and, by majority vote, will approve changes to the MCDP Constitution and will elect (or reelect) party officers. I wonder if there could be consensus among Montgomery County Democrats that it would be an improvement to change the MCDP Constitution so that at the 2026 Reorganization Meeting, the new chair and other officers would be chosen by a rank choice voting method, rather than a simple majority method?