The Missing Fourth

If the City of Santa Barbara wishes to uphold the democratic process, then it would be a good idea to change the city’s charter to allow voters to select the appropriate number of City Council members. It simply does not make any sense to only be able to select a number that is less than the potential number of seats to be filled. In this last election cycle, it is clear that at least one, and possibly two, council seats will be filled with elected candidates who do not reflect the will of the people. Clearly the outcome would have been much different had the vote been for four council members rather than three.

It is fairly clear from the vote tally that each “side” had two strong candidates, and a split vote amongst the remainder. Given the dominance of votes for one side, in both the strong candidates and the split-vote candidates, it is quite easy to imagine a clean sweep by the stronger side in a “vote for four” scenario, or at most the loss of one seat to the other side.

It is easy to imagine the same type of popular election “error” occurring under almost any conditions of vote distribution. That’s not to say that it is completely impossible that the true will of the people was not subverted, but it would be an absolute miracle-and require some awfully strange thinking on the part of the voters-for it not to have been. - Barton K. Woolery

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