Mulligan

Hey,

A mulligan is a golf term reserved for when you’d like to redo one of your shot attempts. This isn’t recognized in any official golf tournament, but amongst friends on the course, you can get a second chance if you’re unhappy with how your shot went. The second shot is accepted and you move on with the rest of the tournament. For the sake of democracy, I’d like a mulligan for the 2022 midterm elections.

As a Georgia resident, things didn’t go as I anticipated and I’m currently working through the seven stages of grief. There was shock and denial that Brian Kemp won so convincingly. I experienced the pain and guilt that Stacey Abrams lost by an even more considerable margin the second time around. I entered the anger and depression phases when I realized that roughly 2,000,000 people voted for Herschel Walker. As Dave Chappelle so eloquently put it during his Saturday Night Live monologue, Walker is “objectively stupid.”

I’ve now reached the last three stages, which are the upward turn, reconstruction, and hope. Georgia employs the run-off system, so there will be another election on Tuesday, December 6. I encourage everyone that felt inclined to vote previously to make their way back to the polls. Also, for the first time, a national election will be taking place during the World Cup, as this year’s tournament has been moved from its normal place in the summer to the winter holiday season. The tournament holders Qatar promised they would build air-conditioned dome stadiums to be able to safely play the games during their extremely hot summer. Unfortunately, the Qatari slave laborers were unable to meet this demand and the tournament was rescheduled, but I digress.

As part of the reconstruction process, I have to acknowledge that there is a better way to conduct these types of elections. As part of the process, there is usually a third-party candidate that is added to the ballot but has zero chance of actually winning. They only succeed in siphoning away votes from either the Democratic or Republican candidates, which leads to these run-off scenarios. However, this is no longer an issue if you deploy a ranked-choice voting system.

A ranked-choice voting system is one where instead of selecting the candidate you want to vote for, you rank all of the candidates on your ballot with one being your top candidate. If there is an election that’s too close to call, the candidate who comes in last place gets removed from voting consideration and the votes that they received are redistributed based on ranking. Meaning that if you voted for an Independent as your top choice and a Republican as your second choice, your vote now gets reallocated to the Republican candidate and the ballots are recounted. This process is followed until a winner is determined, and you get to skip the process of doing a run-off selection.

Several states employ this system currently, including Colorado, Alaska, Maine, and Hawaii among others. It allows you to vote for an Independent candidate you believe in, but also allows you to have your vote redistributed so that you don’t have to go back to the polls. As long as voting isn’t a national holiday, there will always be constituents who have trouble getting time off to go vote and this would alleviate that problem.

I’m looking at the run-off election as my mulligan, so I’m going to vote again and make sure my vote counts. I’d advise everyone to do the same, especially if you voted for Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver the first time around. This is a very important election, which is why it has caused me such grief. The general election has shown us that we shouldn’t take for granted that the candidate that we would like to win will win.

Use your mulligan wisely.

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