Q&A #14 -- Bullets And Slates

I'm combining a couple of questions about "bullet voting" --  using just one of the four available votes for at-large city council, to maximize the effect, instead of voting for four candidates. "Boston Guy" asks: "which method do you find more effective for voters?" "Vote Or Be Silent" asks: "Have you heard of any camps pushing for bullet votes which will be very important in this years election?"

I have not heard specifically of campaigns pushing for bullet votes, but I'm sure it gets mentioned now and again. And again.

My personal take is that you should vote for four -- because if you don't, it seems to me you're essentially saying you don't care at all who the fourth councilor is, and in fact the fourth councilor is just as important as the first. Right?

Bullets are good in the aggregate, for the bulleted candidate. But from a voter's perspective, I think it's kind of a raw deal. Maybe that's just me.

Some folks I talk to think the minority communities of Boston need to get sophisticated about bullet voting, the way the Irish have been. Maybe so. Or, maybe those bullet-voters helped get Flaherty the top ballot spot, but gave Southie no say in who the other three at-large councilors would be. 

Anyway, I suspect the top-tier candidates won't be pushing too hard for bullets in the preliminary -- but some of the mid- to lower-tier candidates might. After all, making the top 8 is what the prelim is ultimately about, and if you're Scotland Willis you not only need every vote you can get, but you need other on-the-fence candidates to not get votes.

The final election is where you're also more likely to see alliances and slates, if we're going to see them. VOBS also asks:

Have any alliances or slates been formed? Who would make a good slate? At-Large or At-Large and district?

I think that Yoon would LOVE to create some kind of progressive slate with some of the at-large candidates. But I wouldn't be too quick to advise any of the top challengers to line up against the mayor -- that's asking for more trouble than these guys are ready for. On the other hand, a mid- or lower-tier candidate could really make a name for themselves, standing out from the field, by actively supporting either Yoon or Flaherty (requited or not). Might be worth a shot.

As for the district candidates... endorsing or allying with an at-large councilor would be a whack at Connolly and Murphy, and they're not going to do it. Turner and Yancey could get away with it, but I'm not sure anyone wants big public endorsements from either one.


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