Commentary: Voting in our mayoral election involves not only our preferences among the ten candidates but the new process of ranked-choice voting.
RCV, or instant run-off, lets a candidate reach the required fifty-percent-plus-one without wasting time or money on a runoff election. We vote for our preferred candidate by marking him/her as first choice; then there are circles to fill in for second, third, and even ninth choice. Sounds simple, but I've heard many misconceptions.
Indicating secondary choices is optional. If you vote for only one candidate, your vote counts. However, voting for secondary candidates cannot possibly hurt your top choice: no one even looks at your second choice unless your top choice has been eliminated. Each round of counting eliminates the last place candidate. Where a voter for that newly eliminated candidate has a next-choice marked, that next choice (if not already eliminated) gets another vote.
Thus it's senseless to eschew secondary choices to protect your preferred candidate. Refusing to list secondary choices essentially says that if your candidate had chosen not to run, and the other nine were all running, you'd abstain. But it's your choice. One voter I know says Miyagishima is the only real candidate, and that she'll vote for him and be done with it. Others plan to rank their top nine.
My approach is to (a) identify my top choice; (b) identify the people for whom I won't vote, for various reasons; then (c) determine my preferences among the candidates who aren't covered by (a) or (b).
Ken Miyagishima is my choice. He's been a good mayor. He and the council have moved in some good directions; he has both experience and a willingness to listen and grow; and I'm not hearing allegations from his opponents of any big errors or even a hint of corruption. He cares about the city, has improved it, represents us well, and seems likely to continue on that course.
Sadly, a majority of the ten candidates are people whom I wouldn't want as mayor and won't help by listing on my ballot. I like and respect several, while others sound good, but I'm unconvinced. Some I don't trust, for good reasons. One whom I consider a friend represents a small, extreme share of citizens and buys into some odd conspiracy theories. Several seem beholden to the wrong people, including one who says his campaign is being managed by a woman I recall worked for a Koch Brothers-related organization and favored the vicious, divisive, and dishonest city council recall effort a few years ago. Another is only 20, and would have had to articulate some special and compelling reason for us to ignore his inexperience. Although some of these people are capable folks, none matches Miyagishima; and most have some disqualifying factor.
I'll mark Greg Smith as my second choice, although back when the council didn't follow the City Charter in dealing with the minimum wage initiative, I figured I'd never vote for him for anything. He's capable; he cares about the city; and as councilor he's been involved in good things the city has done, and took the lead on some.
My third choice is Alex Fresquez. He lacks the relevant experience some others have; but he's promising, and I'm aware of no major negatives.
That's my ballot, anyway. Whatever your preferences, please vote. (If you mark someone else first, please consider Ken as your second choice.)