In The Hill a few days ago, there was a story about how money in politics (See “Sen. Sanders champions liberal charge ag...
Ranked-Choice Voting To Improve Our Elections
Democrats and Republicans scare voters into believing that voting for an alternative candidate or party is a waste. Ranked-Choice Voting eliminates that concern, and allows voters to have more choices for representation in government.
What are some problems with our elections today?
In our current system, the Democrats and Republicans often nominate extremist candidates who do not have support from the majority of a community or congressional district. Without competition in our elections, voters are often resigned to voting for "the lesser of two evils" instead of the best candidate that reflects what the voter wants.
Of course, if there is a competitor or challenger to the Democrats and Republicans, that candidate is often attacked as being a "spoiler" or a "wasted vote." Voters feel discouraged. They do not want to vote for the lesser of two bad candidates, but they also want to feel like their vote matters.
What is the solution? How can we improve our elections?
One solution that is being adopted in typically conservative (Utah, Alaska), liberal (New York, Colorado) and middle of the road (Maine) states, cities and voting districts is Ranked-Choice Voting.
Ranked-Choice Voting is not difficult. As a voter, you can rank the candidates in order of your preference.
You do not have to rank all of the candidates or any. If you only like 2 candidates, you can make just a 1st and a 2nd choice.
After voting is finished, if a candidate gets over 50% of the first choice votes, then that candidate wins the election. This happens in a majority of elections.
However, what if there is a three-candidate election and no candidate receives over 50% of the first-choice votes?
Under Ranked-Choice Voting, there is no need for a separate run-off election. Instead, a calculation is made based on voter preferences made at the time they voted. In this regard, Ranked-Choice Voting can be considered an "Instant Run-Off" election.
In a Ranked-Choice Voting system, if no candidate receives over 50% of the vote, the least popular candidate – the one who was ranked 1st by the fewest people - is eliminated from the election.
But, instead of throwing out these voter ballots and preferences, election officials look to see who they ranked 2nd. The totals are then recounted. If these votes push a candidate over 50%, then that candidate wins the election.
One of the benefits of this system is that it eliminates the concept of a spoiler candidate. Every vote does count. And best of all, this is not proportional representation or "everyone gets a trophy," because in the end - only one candidate wins: the candidate with the most voter support.