TO PLUNK, OR NOT TO PLUNK — that is the Question
What is plunking? Plunking is simply put, only voting for a one, or perhaps couple of candidates. NOT using all seven of your council votes.
The aurgument FOR plunking is pretty simple. Advocates aurgue you do not want to take the rise of candidates you _somewhat_ support to bumping out candidates you _really_ support. This can happen. By using all 7 of your votes, you could be – in effect – voting against yourself. This is referred to as “Diluting” the impact of your own vote. In a nutshell, the tactic of plunking is all about playing it safe — minimizing the potential negative outcomes.
While this is objectively “more true” in November when there are (at present, only 7 seats on the council), it is is objectively LESS true in the Primary, because 14 (not 7) of the top-vote-getting candidates advance to General Election. How could this be so?
You don’t need to use any rigorous game theory number crunching to see that because the numbers are different. In the Primary (where 14 advance vs only 7 in the general), it stands to reason — if you actually give it some thought — from the difference in the basic math, so too can your pragmatic play inside those numbers also be different.
And it is. Without going into the technical details, the risk of voting against yourself is around 50% less likely. And with this reduced risk, your voting tactics can shift accordingly to more fully seed the primary will more candidates you actually support. But here is some good news — this risk can be reduced even more. Significantly.
While playing it safe is certainly a sound basic approach — especially if you if you have low information about the candidates, and how they are likely to perform in the election. However, by playing it safe, you also miss out on the flip side of minimizing the negative, which is maximizing the positive. While no one has a crystal ball about election outcomes, the more knowledge you have about likely outcomes, the less risky a more nuanced voting tactic can become.
DON’T Plunk in the Primary
It turns out — that in the Primary — by plunking you are actually hurting yourself. By not using the votes you have, you reduce the impact of your votes because you aren’t using them! Don’t leave your votes ‘on the table’ get them into the ballot box!
When you vote for 5,6, or 7 candidates (whom you genuinely feeldeserve your vote), instead of leaving those votes on the table, you are putting them in play, and helping to shape the outcome to your fullest potential. Don’t lose out on the opportunity to maximize positives outcomes. This is what jjKauai.com is all about: empowering you with information so you can maximize your positive impact in our local elections.
So here is something fewer people know, but because you are here, you are about to be in the know. Effectively, there are TWO elections place inside the Council Primary, not One. How could this be so?
Allthough we may wish this were not so, the truth is: Not all candidates are equal. Some candidates begin the race with often overwhelming advantages. Strong name-recognition, being the number one factor in getting elected, no matter what policies they may hold. Who has strong name recognition on Kauaʻi? These are the incumbents, those who have been active in the public for some time. Those who come from large long-time local families, the well-funded, the politically connected, and those with Japanese last names. These folks are not just trying to make the cut, they are vying for “pole positions” at the top of the ticket.
Whether they come in top seven, or perhaps the bottom, these candidates are pretty much no matter what, guaranteed to advance. These candidates WANT your vote. Should you still vote for them even though they don’t literally don’t “need” your vote to advance? Absolutely! Your vote demonstrates the extent of support for them, and strengthens their standing, gives them political “clout” against other strong candidates who may not hold you views, or share your values.
Then, there are the lesser known or ‘weaker’ candidates. Not weaker because their platform sounds weak to you, but because these are simply lesser known candidates. Remember name recognition? Voters do. These are often 1st timers, folks who may be well-known inside their communities, but not so much around the rest of the island, and those running on a shoe-string – with very little, or perhaps even no funding. These folks are long shots.
Long shows realistically have a lower chance getting elected — but remember, anything is possible. Some of these lesema known candidates may have what you may feel are super great ideas, or the kind of values or temperment you feel will be greatly beneficial, if only somehow they could get enough votes.
VOTE FOR THESE CANDIDATES. And vote for them with the confidence they are very very unlike to have any negative impact on your favorite better known candidates who are gonna for sure finish toward the front of the park. If the little guys and gals don’t get support from people like you who actually agree with them, they will NEVER even make 12th, 13th or 14th. They will be out of the race. These folks NEED your vote. So just do it.