Ranked-choice voting: What is it? Should all states adopt it?
Should all states adopt ranked-choice voting?
By Josh Herman, Countable News
Where is ranked-choice voting (RCV) used?
- In November 2020, Alaska voters approved a ballot initiative to establish ranked-choice voting and top-four primaries with 50.4% of the vote. In the same election cycle, Massachusetts voters rejected a ballot proposal to established ranked choice voting with 54.9% of voters voting against the proposal.
- In March 2021, Burlington, Vermont voters approved a measure to implement ranked-choice voting for city council elections after repealing RCV for mayoral elections over a decade earlier, in March 2010.
- Maine is the only state to have adopted ranked-choice voting for presidential primary and general elections. In November 2020, Mainers were the first U.S. voters to vote for president using ranked-choice voting.
- Last year, New York City became the largest municipality in the U.S. to adopt ranked-choice voting for local primary and special elections. The Big Apple joined 20 other cities, as well as multiple states, in adopting this voting reform.
What is ranked-choice voting (RCV)?
- Also known as “instant run-off voting,” this electoral system allows voters to rank candidates, in order of preference, when marking their ballots. Voters can select as many – or as few – candidates as they wish.
- If no candidate receives the majority of votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Voters who had selected the defeated candidate as their first choice will now have their ballots counted for their second choice. The process continues until one candidate has a clear majority and is declared the winner.
- For example, if RCV was used during the 2016 presidential election, voters could have selected Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson as their first choice and Donald Trump as their second choice. Once Johnson didn’t receive enough votes to be elected, their vote would have been counted for Trump.
What are people saying?
- “You’ve got to be, I think, a better candidate,” said FairVote President Rob Richie.
“You as a candidate have a lot more reasons to have conversations and engagements with people. The candidates that run traditional campaigns that involve using money and not using people have not done as well.”
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, published a report in August 2019 deriding the practice, arguing it obscures voter's choices and individual voting rights:
"It also disenfranchises voters, because ballots that do not include the two ultimate finalists are cast aside to manufacture a faux majority for the winner. In the end, a voter’s ballot might wind up being cast for the candidate he ranked far below his first choice — a candidate to whom he may have strong political objections and for whom he would not vote in a traditional voting system."
What do you think?
Would you like to see ranked-choice voting appear on all ballots? Should it only be used for state elections? Or certain offices? Take action above and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: FairVote.org)
What’s in the Georgia election law? Voter ID changes and moreBy Eric Revell, Countable News What’s the story? A recently enacted Georgia election law known as the Election Integrity Act of
Georgia Republicans pass sweeping voting restrictions - should more states?By Josh Herman, Countable News What's the story? As of April 2021, Georgia is the first 2020 battleground state to pass sweeping
What is gerrymandering and what can I do to fix it?By Asha Sanaker, Countable News What’s the story? Partisan gerrymanders are where districts are drawn so as to guarantee that