I first encountered Spenser’s work through his writing for the Morning Chalk Up, and at some point I clicked on enough links to realize that the majority of his work is on voting rights and election reform.
I’ve been a subscriber to Spenser’s voting rights newsletter, so I wanted to get his take on how things went with New York City’s experiment in ranked choice voting in their Democratic mayoral primary.
While election fraud and voter suppression are hot-button culture war issues, there are also a lot of low-hanging fruit for bipartisan election reforms. Spenser’s understanding of the voting rights landscape is deep and nuanced, so I’m thrilled that he decided to indulge my questioning.
We also discuss Spenser’s forthcoming book with Mat Fraser, in which Mat finally spills the beans about his training, his injuries (that he didn’t want competitors to know about), and more. You can pre-order Hard Work Pays Off here.
Check out the full conversation with Spenser below.
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Learn more from Spenser here:
- Substack: spensermestel.substack.com
- Website: www.spensermestel.com
- Book: “Hard Work Pays Off” by Mat Fraser and Spenser Mestel
- Twitter: @SpenserMestel
- Instagram: @spensermestel
[02:35] How has ranked choice voting gone in the New York mayoral primary? And, what’s the deal with the New York Board of Elections?
[10:57] Did any of the theoretical benefits of ranked choice voting show up when it was tested in New York?
[27:42] What is the “steelman” case for voting rights restrictions? What is the prevalence of voter fraud?
[34:02] There is a history of political machines and electioneering. How concerned should we be with these kinds of manipulations?
[39:32] What’s the deal with voter ID requirements? And gerrymandering?
[52:50] Writing a book with 5 time CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser — and the mental challenges of being an elite athlete
[1:05:55] Learn more from Spenser and subscribe to Spenser’s Super Tuesday
Links and Resources Mentioned:
- Ranked-choice voting
- 2021 Georgia runoff election
- Vote Tally Mistake Causes Confusion In New York City Mayoral Race | NPR
- First-past-the-post voting
- Voter Fraud Map: Election Fraud Database | The Heritage Foundation
- Machine Politics
- Study: voter ID laws don’t reduce voter fraud — or voter turnout | Vox
- Leaked Audio: Trump Adviser Says Republicans Rely on Voter Suppression | Business Insider
- Mathew Fraser
- How I Conquered ‘American Ninja Warrior’ by Spenser Mestel | Rolling Stone