Missouri Primary Demonstrates Need for RCV

Posted by Elliot Louthen on March 16, 2016

After a full day of voting and a long night of counting, the Missouri presidential primary for both parties is too close to officially call. On the Republican side, Trump is edging out Cruz by a mere 1,726 votes out of 935,794 total votes cast. Considering Rubio has now dropped out, one could imagine redistributing his 57,006 votes and hypothetically swinging the election.

On the Democratic side, Clinton and Sanders are neck and neck, divided by 1,531 votes. In addition to their vote totals, 6,404 Democratic ballots were cast for “other” candidates. And like  the Republican race, these “other” voters’ underlying preference between the two remaining candidates could similarly shift the balance toward Sanders or affirm a Clinton victory.

Perhaps above all else, these results demonstrate the importance of counting and weighing second choice support. If ranked choice voting had been used in Missouri, we could guarantee the Republican and Democratic winners would have the support of a majority of voters. Instead, voters who cast votes for anyone besides Trump, Cruz, Clinton, and Sanders are left to question what might have happened had they cast their vote for someone else.

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