March 2, 2023

Rigged, Ranked, Wretched – Will Your Vote Count? – with Kerri Toloczko – [Ep. 158]

Rigged, Ranked, Wretched – Will Your Vote Count? – with Kerri Toloczko – [Ep. 158]

When you vote in local, state, or national elections, will your vote count? How can you be sure? Our election system is designed to ensure every citizen the right to vote and for that vote to be counted fairly and accurately. We typically choose one...

When you vote in local, state, or national elections, will your vote count? How can you be sure? Our election system is designed to ensure every citizen the right to vote and for that vote to be counted fairly and accurately. We typically choose one candidate for each position, but a new idea called Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) has been spreading with potentially disastrous results. Kerri Toloczko, National Networks Director at The Election Integrity Network, discussed with Linda various ways RCV has wreaked havoc in elections and how citizens can be on the alert to stop it. Every person, regardless of political opinions, should be able to vote without risk of their ballot being discarded or invalidated, which can easily happen when RCV is in place. Protect your vote. Learn about RCV now.

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Linda J. Hansen:  Welcome. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Prosperity 101 Breakroom Economics Podcast. My name is Linda J. Hansen, your host and the author of Prosperity 101- Job Security Through Business Prosperity: The Essential Guide to Understanding How Policy Affects Your Paycheck, and the creator of the Breakroom Economics Online course, the book, the course and the entire podcast library can be found on Prosperity101.Com. I seek to connect boardroom to break room and policy to paycheck by empowering and encouraging employers to educate employees about the public policy issues that affect their jobs. My goal is to help people understand the foundations of prosperity, the policies of prosperity, and how to protect their prosperity by becoming informed, involved, and impactful. I believe this will lead to greater employee loyalty, engagement and retention, and an increased awareness of the blessings and responsibilities of living in a free society. Listen each week to hear from exciting guests and be sure to visit Prosperity 101.Com.

Thank you so much for joining me today, my guest today is Kerri Toloczko, she is a veteran public policy analyst and expert in coalition building and messaging on domestic and international public policy issues and she has worked in the conservative think tank movement for over 25 years. She is currently the Election Integrity Fellow at the Conservative Partnership Institute and she is the National Network's Director for the Election Integrity Network. I've enjoyed working with Kerri over the last couple of years as we've worked on election integrity issues and today I wanted her to come on to discuss Ranked Choice Voting. It goes by several different names and we will help you understand what they all are. But Ranked Choice Voting is something that deeply concerns me and how it will affect our country and our election system and that is why I titled this episode Rigged, Ranked, Wretched – Will Your Vote Count? So with that, I'd like to bring in Kerri Toloczko. And thank you, Kerri, for sharing your wisdom about election integrity and just helping us to understand this complicated system that is being promoted throughout the country. So thank you for joining with us.

Kerri Toloczko: Always a pleasure, Linda. Always.

Linda J. Hansen:  Well, you're great and I appreciate your work. I appreciate your insight and help people really understand what Ranked Choice Voting is. Could you give us a brief overview?

Kerri Toloczko: Yes. It's a nightmare. Do I need to extrapolate on it a little more?

Linda J. Hansen:  No, but I can't agree with you more.

Kerri Toloczko: When we go to the polls now, we pick one candidate in a category for the most part. I mean, sometimes we have a couple of school board candidates who are choosing, but we pick our number one for President, our number one for Senate, our number one for House, our number one for State House and State Senate. It's sort of the constitutional principle of one voter, one candidate, and one vote. What Ranked Choice Voting does is give you a laundry list of candidates you have to vote for all of them. So let's just say in our theoretical Ranked Choice Voting ballot, we're running for State House, we have ten candidates, we can't just check the box for the one we want. We have to rank them number 1 through 10, even the ones we really can't stand. And in some states, the way they're pushing Ranked Choice Voting, even for candidates in another party that we don't particularly want to vote for. So it is just a change to election procedures, it’s terrible, it’s anti-voter, it’s confusing, it invites corruption.

I know we'll go into all of this, it violates that one-voter-one candidate, one-vote principle, by demanding that candidates have to be ranked. And if you miss a box, let's say you only ranked candidates 1 through 10. You really can't stand number 10 and 9 and 10. So you only did 1 through 8. The likelihood that your entire ballot for that piece of election will go in the trash can is very high and that's one of the worst parts of Ranked Choice Voting. The election officials have to keep recycling all the ballots until they come up with one winner. It could take two rounds of tabulation, it could take five rounds of tabulation, and it could take ten rounds of tabulation. A lot And again, some ballots are 100% going to go in the trash can and if we can't even get it right when we're voting for one candidate in a category, imagine what's going to be like when we're voting for 2- 3-4-10 candidates in a category.

Linda J. Hansen:  It sounds like a nightmare. You described that quite well and we're recording this shortly after a primary election that I served at the polls. I served as a poll worker in a primary election here in my state, and there were actually only two offices that they needed to vote for. So two candidates, one person per section. We had a Supreme Court primary and there was a school board primary. So I cannot even begin to tell you how many people got confused, voted for more than one person in a section. Their ballot got spoiled, we had to go back, redo things, and they were just confused. And we told people when we handed them the ballot, one name per category, and they still got confused. So I was thinking, oh, my goodness, I'm so glad I have Kerri scheduled to talk about Ranked Choice Voting, because if this is difficult for people to do, how difficult will it be for people to understand Ranked Choice Voting? And I got to thinking, how many people would just throw up their hands and say, I don't get this, and just walk away?

Kerri Toloczko: Oh, 100% is voter suppression. We hear that phrase from the left all the time, and it's usually baloney, but in this particular case, it is voter suppression. And because people, they're going to be so confused, can you imagine you have a ballot 1 to 10, and you're reading ten names and you think, oh, okay, I'll make this person number 1, and I'll make this person number 4. Well, no, I don't really like that person, let me scratch that out and put them as number 3. I mean, it's just crazy. Whoever originally came up with this idea, I don't know, but I think they must have been, like, high on something, because it's just the most ridiculous thing ever. And there's two core cohorts with the ability to get confused. One is the voters, and the other one is the election offices. So they have to count each ballot not once, but again repeatedly. So this creates massive opportunity for mistakes, honest mistakes. Never mind the corruption and the fraud part, but honest mistakes.

And it makes it nearly impossible to conduct a post-election audit, because now you have five rounds of ballots going through a machine and being tabulated with again, some of them being discarded into the metaphorical trash can. And somehow you're supposed to go back if the results are questioned in any way or confused, and you're supposed to go back, and you're supposed to reinvent five rounds of ballot counting. And now you've also changed, the tabulation machines have to be adjusted every time you do a new round of voting. So if that makes you nervous, it should. And it was a recent election in Oakland, California, for a school board member. A person came in third in the school board race, it was a Ranked Choice Voting race, three days later, he got noticed that, oh, we're sorry, you came in first, and the reason we told you came in third is because we did not hit the correct buttons on the tabulator machine. We're sorry, we didn't do it on purpose, but oh, my gosh. So now he's suing to get the seat, the person who originally was told he won is suing to get the seat, and again, it was likely dishonest, human error. It's just a mess, why would anybody want a mess? I mean, citizens want confidence in their votes, and they want to make darn sure their ballots don't end up in the trash can. It baffles me that anybody would ever support this except for the left wing, who is just committing another act of election vandalism in pushing this issue.

Linda J. Hansen:  Well, if it was confusing for this race, a lower level local race in Oakland, California, think how confusing it would be for, say, a statewide race or a national race. I mean, this would be a total disaster. Now, I know that there are some states who have utilized this type of system. Can you tell the listeners about the states that have currently used Ranked Choice Voting and what the results were?

Kerri Toloczko: Yes, I would be happy to. Virginia used it in its primary when republican governor Glenn Duncan was eventually in the general made the governor, but the republicans used it in the primary. They claimed COVID I don't know what they claimed, but they claimed all kinds of things and used it in the primary. It is a bad idea. It is a bad idea when Republicans use it, it's a bad idea when Democrats use it. And I'm glad you asked that question Linda, because just because that one time that candidate you like came in first does not make it a good idea, It remains a bad idea. So let's go through a couple of, like, four super quick. I talked about Oakland, California in 2022, the school board candidate came in third, now being told he's one, we sorry, we incorrectly programmed the machine. It's going to be a litigation mess forever, It brings us up to the point that the confusion of R-C-V also makes you have delayed governance. As people are debating who won what and who came in first all year, your governance is now delayed.

So, in Maine in 2018, a GOP candidate won the majority of votes in the first round, but then a Democrat was declared the winner after 8000 ballots, which belonged to 8000 people, were thrown in the trash can. In Alaska in 2022, I think a lot of your viewers are probably familiar with the Sarah Palin race, Congressional election. Republicans were favored by 60% in the first round of counting, a Democrat won after 11,000 Alaskan ballots were thrown in the trash cannon. In New York City in 2021, there was a city council race, 15% of votes cast, which again are attached to human being, citizens were discarded. That's 141,000 ballots, because the math, the algorithm, which I didn't even proclaim to understand, you go through the first round and whoever got the most votes gets number 1. Then you go through the second round and then people drop off and you go through the third round and the next group of people, and this is where the ballots get discarded. If you did not vote for the current leader or if you left a space blank, you have just lost your political voice. So those are just four examples of complete disasters where Ranked Choice Voting has been used and every single time we've seen it, that we've looked back at a race that had R-C-V ballots were discarded and so if voting is our most sacred right, why in the world would we ever push a system that sends those ballots into the trash can?

Linda J. Hansen:  I'm so glad you brought that up, because these ballots do represent people who go to the polls in good conscience to vote, and they care enough to actually take the time to vote. And then because of this system being so confusing and things that happen in the tabulation, their ballots are discarded. They may not even know, they may not even know that their vote never counted and that is just horrible. I feel that the push towards ranked choice voting has been coming for quite a while. It's taken on more steam in the last couple of years, but it's also called several other things. Can you let the listeners know what else they should listen for or watch for as they look at how elections are run in their state or in their local areas?

Kerri Toloczko: Yeah, Ranked Choice Voting is the main one, some people call it Transitional Voting, some people call it List Voting. If you read anything in the language that says you are ranking your choices or you are listing your choices, or you are deciding a number of choices, you know that you're looking at Ranked Choice Voting. We like to call it Rigged Choice Voting, Ranked Choice Victims, R-C-V and really Confused Voters, which is kind of my favorite. It basically turns election offices into ejection officers that they're throwing ballots out and the bottom line is it's the swampiest thing ever. For one thing, it helps winners lose elections and it helps losers win elections. But one of the really bad problems with R-C-V is that the elites on both sides of the party are way better at math than I am. And they can figure out, and they have figured out this happened in Alaska how many extra people, extra candidates they can throw onto a ballot which will make their swampy candidate or their elite candidate come out number 1. So I can't even figure that out honestly. But they can figure it out and they have done so they can manipulate the election on the ballot before it's even counted. It's just absolutely crazy.

Linda J. Hansen: It is. And those other names for it, I've also heard it called the Final Five. There's been a push for that final five, meaning like, you break it down to the last five candidates or something. I don't even understand what happens then, but it is just so confusing and I was trying to explain this to someone once and they said, well, good grief, I think that's a great idea. And if people can't figure that out, how dumb are the American people? Well, it's not so much that the American people are dumb. It is that the election system even now, can be confusing to people. Like I just mentioned the example at the polls that I saw this week, just a few days ago, people were confused because they wanted to put more than one name into a section where you could only vote for one person and there were only two elections, the school board and a primary for Supreme Court. And yet that was confusing to many, many people and so I think, well, what would Ranked Choice Voting be? It would just be a total disaster. You called it a nightmare. I think any kind of those adjectives that we could use to describe it would be appropriate because it just is a terrible idea, I think. I personally think in terms of making sure that every person's vote gets counted properly.

Kerri Toloczko: Absolutely, I mean, I like to call it the spoiled ballot project and just what you're talking about Linda, the spoiled ballot. So never mind anything else, let’s just talk about the actual ballot. So you go into vote, you have your election officials, you have your poll observers, you go into vote. You go behind the little screen thing and you write down, I want this candidate for Senate and that candidate for House and this for president. And then you go over the machine and you stick it in there. Simple, right? So imagine again that you have 2-4-6-8-10 candidates you have to rank. How many times you're going to get that wrong? So guess what you're going to do? You got to go back in the line, ask for another ballot, go back to the little box, and then hopefully you get it right the first time. So imagine, the burden that puts on the voter, is ridiculous to begin with. The burden it puts on the system is even crazier. And now you have all these spoiled ballots, so now all the poll observers and the election officials have to go through and verify that the spoiled ballots are spoiled and what if they didn't really get spoiled? And what if somebody grabbed them and stuck them in the machine? Absolutely, it really is insane. And when I first learned, I do election integrity for a living, and when I first heard about Ranked Choice Voting and it was explained to me by somebody who's a great expert on the subject a while back, I had to have him explain to me three times over and again, I do this for a living.

So here's my thing, If something is so difficult to explain to people, and it really is, it is very complicated, if it's so difficult to explain and so difficult to understand, why on earth would you want to insert it in the voting process? Like just common sense tells you that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. And let's talk about where it might go, so right now the left is pushing it in primaries and in local elections and in statewide elections. Ultimately, there's no question some of them have embraced this openly. They want it in a presidential election. So just imagine for a moment, if you will, that you are going to vote in the 2020 election for president, you’re likely going to vote for Donald Trump, or you're going to vote for Joe Biden. So you take one of those boxes, whichever is your preference, circle back, its 2020, you Have Ranked Choice Voting in a presidential election, you have 123-4568 people to rank. So you don't just get to vote for Joe Biden or you don't just get for Donald Trump. You have to vote for all the candidates, the Libertarian candidates, the Green candidates, everybody that's on a ballot and so the Democrats would have to have voted for Donald Trump number two, and the Republicans would have had to vote for Joe Biden as their number two. Or maybe they like the Libertarian and they put him number two. And somehow in a presidential election, you have to vote for four people you don't want to be president, that's just crazy. So if you think it's bad now, just wait.

Linda J. Hansen: Yeah, it is crazy. It is just, I think, so harmful to our election system, and it just undermines everything that we have about election integrity and the respect and privacy and accuracy of counting a person's vote. Like you said, it's a sacred trust we have, it’s a sacred honor, it’s a sacred right that we have to vote for our elected officials, and it should never be compromised or taken away or stolen. And that's why all of us who work on election integrity initiatives, we're really trying to bring sunlight into the process and make it easier for everyone to have their vote count, to have everything be done accurately, ethically and just properly and in order and to follow the Constitution. It's not difficult, it’s only difficult when we add all of these extra things into it, and then it just decreases the ability for voters to have their votes count.

Kerri Toloczko:  And their confidence, and let's segue a little bit into how this really hurts our vulnerable voters. So in particular, our seniors and folks with disabilities, whatever your disability might be, whether it's mobility, hearing, sight, whatever it is people who are living in residential facilities, assisted living or seniors, a lot of them, I don't want to come up with a number, but a great number of them vote by absentee ballot and vote by mail. So their ballot comes in and they look at it and they're like, oh my gosh, I have to vote for ten people. And they mess it up. Now what do they do? Because you know, voting machines, if you scribble out the little circle or the X or whatever, it's not going to go through the tabulator. So what do they do? Do they call, oh, my goodness, that's not what I meant to do, how easily would that happen to them? And now they have to either send in a ballot that's probably not what they want or send in a ballot that's going to be rejected out of the tabulator machine, or call their local election office and say, I'm really sorry, that ballot you sent me, I messed it up, because I put number 2 is number 6, and number 6 is number 4. Can you send me another one? And the election office is like, no, we can't do that. So now you have this huge cohort of people who, for whatever reason, can't make it to the election office during early voting, or voting day, who have been completely disenfranchised or suppressed or whatever word you want to use. And so that particular scenario and the fact that so many ballots are discarded in the process and never counted are for me personally, the two worst aspects of this and make a moral case and not even a political case, a moral case, an ethical case. Why this is a really bad idea.

Linda J. Hansen: I'm so glad you brought up the vulnerable voters. And for listeners, you may want to go back, I have interviewed Kerri before, and that was our topic, it was about vulnerable voters and how to protect people who are vulnerable. They may be in an assisted living, a nursing home, a hospital, they may be disabled, and whatever but this to me is just ripe for more fraud issues. When you think of just take the example of people going into, say, an assisted living and handing the ballot to the person, and technically they're not supposed to help the person vote. But I could see so many elderly people being confused and looking up at their aides, the people who are in the room saying, well, what do I do with this? Well, what do I do here? And that is just another area that fraud could happen in that the people tell them what to fill in. Yeah, I don't want to assume that that would happen, and we want to think that people would be ethical and on their best honest behavior, but it doesn't always happen, and we know that. And so this just opens up another can of worms, so to speak, to really disenfranchise a voter or create an issue with election fraud.

Kerri Toloczko: Yeah. Okay, so let me ask veterans organizations, blue Star Moms, D-A-V people, anyone involved with the military, please write to whomever you need to write to and say no to Ranked Choice Voting. So my son is an army officer, he's been in Italy for three years, he just got back, but he gets his military ballot like the tens of thousands of other members of the military who are not in their hometown where they're registered to vote. They could be in a post in the United States, somewhere not in their hometown, or there could be overseas, and they get their ballot and others. And let's face it, military ballots are just precious, right? And they are looking at the ten people and they mess up their ballot and they're in the military, they're out there protecting us, what do they do? Like, what would my son have done that if he was in Italy? What the heck would he do with ballot if he or his wife had messed up the order of the candidates? That's a group of people that I would hope would be adamantly opposed to this at every juncture to make sure that that doesn't ever happen. We have to really protect those military votes, and this is the opposite of doing that. Absolutely.

Linda J. Hansen: Well, we've talked quite a bit about the dangers and the problems with Ranked Choice Voting, but what would be your advice to people to prevent this from happening in their local communities, their states, or in our country.

Kerri Toloczko: Ban it. Ban it. Ban it. Just ban it. Like don't pussyfoot around with it, just ban it outright. So Florida and Tennessee have already completely banned it. Idaho right now has a piece of legislation going through that would outright ban it. There's another state too, and I'm forgetting which one it is, but there's another state also looking at a ban. So I would advise anyone listening or watching, to contact your local state legislature, both your House and your senate member, and ask them to intentionally and deliberately create a bill to ban it in the state. Because if it's banned in the state, then you can't have it in the local elections as well. If you ban it in the local elections, that's good, that's helpful but it's not a statewide initiative. So these ideally really need to be a statewide initiative as far as that goes.

Linda J. Hansen: So, listeners, please contact your state elected officials and ask them to ban this in your state. And let's get ahead of this before it really takes root in more states. Now, for everybody listening, you know that I often try to connect the dots between all of these things that go on and how it affects the workplace, the employer, the employee. And I can see this being a problem for employers, employees, just say employers have given part of the day for people to go vote or to work at the polls and this becomes something that you're recounting. I mean, sometimes these things can go on and on and on and so just that alone could be a problem. But also, I really encourage employers who are listening or even employees who might want to help their employers understand, really talk about this, talk about this and explain why this matters and that you care about the other person's vote. You care about the integrity of their ballot, You care about their right to a free and fair election, and you're just making them aware you don't have to say anything partisan, you don't have to say who you think they should vote for or anything, but just making them aware that this could compromise their ballot and make their vote to be ineligible to be counted.

Kerri Toloczko: Right. Absolutely. And yeah, I mean, imagine you go off to work or you have a babysitter at home, right? Or you are the boss and you mess up your ballot, that's another hour of your time. Imagine that you have a wonderful boss who's allowed you 2 hours to go be a volunteer as a poll worker and I know a lot of companies really encourage that, which is wonderful. I'm sorry I have to stay an extra 2 hours because everybody's ballots are being spoiled, I mean, it really does impact the entire system. And the other thing is you're an employer or you're an employee, particularly as an employer, a business owner, you're very concerned with certain tax and regulatory regimes that may harm your business if they raise your tax or increase your regulatory burden. You want to go to the polls, as an employer and a business owner, to vote for the person who accurate, most accurately represents what you want, which I would hope would be less regulation and less taxation. Well, if you just rank in all these people, you're not really voting for the one person that you know for sure is going to be on your team as far as your economic liberty goes. I hadn't thought about that before, Linda, but that's a great point and I'm really glad you said that.

Linda J. Hansen: Well, it just seems like we should reject this right away in all of our states. And so everybody listening, please take a moment, send an email, and write to your elected officials at all levels of government. Call them, talk to them, show up at a meeting, at their listening sessions, call their offices and tell them you are opposed to Ranked Choice Voting. I mean, if you care about your vote, this is something that should concern you because it really does jeopardize the privacy, the security of your vote, your ballot.

Kerri Toloczko: Actually, I had a friend the other day who said something about you throw your ballot into a glass of water, which is what we have now, sort of. Or you could throw your ballot into a mud puddle. That's exactly what Ranked Choice Voting is. You're throwing your ballot into a mud puddle. It's just terrible.

Linda J. Hansen: Yeah, well, so thank you. And where can people get more information.

Kerri Toloczko: About this if they would like to come to our website? It's called or Who's Counting Us. And my boss, Cleta Mitchell, does a wonderful podcast which is called Who's Counting With Cleta Mitchell and she has two interviews on there at Ranked Choice Voting. And Linda, I'd be happy to supply you with my email too, we have a national working group on ranked choice voting, we meet twice a month. We have experts come on and talk about what's happening in ranked choice voting in the states and we have reports from different states, people who are active in the states, reporting on what's happening. We'd love to have as many people as possible on the phone, on the calls. It really matters, so I'd be happy to give you a contact for that as well. There's also an organization out there called Stop Ranked Choice Voting. I think its Stop R-C-V. If you Google it, it'll pop up and they have a lot of really important information up there. In fact, if anybody does a search on Stop R-C-V, all kinds of stuff will pop up. The federalist has done a lot of articles and there are other organizations as well as ours out there doing great work on it. Again, because it's so confusing and takes a minute to understand. I really encourage people interested to just do a little bit of homework on it. 

Linda J. Hansen: That would be good, I know the foundation for Government Accountability has done quite a bit and they have some really great fact sheets on ranked choice voting too. So again, you can go to,, and look up the Podcast done by Cleta Mitchell who's also been on my podcast. You can tell all listeners, you can know that election integrity is something near and dear to my heart. I just think it is absolutely essential that all citizens understand how to ensure our elections are run in a free and fair manner and we want to make sure all laws are abided by and that people are educated on how to have a well-run election system in America. So again go to Whoscounting.Us. What's the best way for them to contact you?

Kerri Toloczko: I will give out my email and I'm happy to get emails from people who are looking for more information. My email is Again. It's

Linda J. Hansen: Okay, well everyone, you have that information and I just really appreciate everything, the Election Integrity Network, everything CPI is doing. It's been such an honor to work with you all and listeners. Kerri mentioned the working groups. There's working groups for 5, there's working groups for vulnerable voters, there's citizens Research project, like learning all the different groups that are working outside of our election system to actually impact our election system. There's just so many groups that you can be involved in. So find an area that you feel called to, we can't all do everything, but we can all pick one thing. And if you can't be part of a working group, maybe just volunteer to observe on Election Day, training takes an hour or two, it doesn't take long or maybe be a poll worker. We need honest people present with every election and you can't do everything but pick one thing and if Ranked Choice Voting interests you, please contact Kerri. You can also contact me at and put in the contact form that you listen to it on the podcast and I can make sure you're connected to any of these working groups, the vulnerable voters, the ranked choice voting. We want to have local task forces in every state, every local community to make sure that people are really protecting our right to vote. So thank you Kerri, we appreciate it so much and I hope to have you back and hopefully we will be able to always protect the free and fair elections that we'd like to have for everybody in America.

Kerri Toloczko: Absolutely. Thank you so much Linda, and thank you for all you do. Really appreciate it as well.

Linda J. Hansen: Well, thank you.

Linda J. Hansen:  Thank you again for listening to the Prosperity 101 Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a great review. Don't forget to visit Prosperity 101 dot to access the entire podcast library to order my newest book, Job Security Through Business Prosperity the Essential Guide to Understanding How Policy Affects Your Paycheck or to enroll you or your employees in the Break Room Economics Online course. You can also receive the free eBook Ten Tips for Helping employees Understand how public policy Affects their Paychecks. Freedom is never free, understanding the foundations of prosperity and the policies of prosperity will help you to protect prosperity as you become informed, involved and impactful. I give special thanks to our sponsors, Matthews Archery Inc. and Wisconsin Stamping and Manufacturing, please contact us to let us know how we can serve you. Thank you.