Reform Round Up: July 8th 2016

Posted by Austin Plier on July 08, 2016

Catch up on the week’s electoral reform news with our round up of folks across the country writing and talking about FairVote’s reform vision: 

  • Sophia McClennen writes that “winner-take-all” is killing our democracy in Salon: “The reasons for considering an alternative voting system go beyond a desire to give third parties a chance for greater visibility and more votes. There is much more at stake. First of all, the winner-take-all system increases fear-based voting. Voters are more inclined to vote against a candidate than to vote for someone. And second, our current system increases partisanship since candidates campaign more on their differences from other candidates than on their actual policies... In contrast, ranked choice voting has been proven to reduce political polarization because candidates are not simply fighting to be #1, they are also hoping to be considered as backup choices, which often means reaching across party lines. When San Francisco implemented it in 2004, observers noticed a direct decrease in hostility among rival candidates.” 
  • FairVote legal intern Lily Westergaard advocates for replacing runoff elections in her home state of South Carolina with ranked choice voting in The Greenville News: “Adopting ranked choice voting would allow for South Carolina to maintain consensus winners in primaries without requiring voters to return to the polls weeks later, or paying for another costly election. South Carolina is one of several states already using ranked ballots for military and overseas voters. Implementing ranked choice voting in all elections would allow for speedier, more efficient elections. It would also allow for greater political engagement in our community, and a more democratic government for all South Carolinians.”
  • Dr. Okla Elliott, an assistant professor of English at Misericordia University, writes in The Hill that ranked choice voting would improve this year’s presidential election: “This presidential election cycle has been full of upsets and surprises, largely caused by voter dissatisfaction with politics as usual. Perhaps one of the lessons we should take away from this is that it’s time to implement RCV at all levels of government in order to offer voters a greater range of choices.”
  • Jaime Canfield writes in the Bradenton Herald that ranked choice voting would give voters greater choices on Election Day: “This system [ranked choice voting] would allow the voter to choose third-party candidates without the current conundrum of actually aiding the candidate from the opposite political spectrum. It would more accurately reflect the will of the people… Please tell me why this does not make perfect sense.”
  • Kit O’Connell of Truthout profiled the electoral reform movement in Canada, while highlighting FairVote’s reform goals in the United States: “FairVote also argues that alternate voting [ranked choice voting] can make campaigns more civil, reduce the influence of money on politics and save money by eliminating the need for primaries, since voters can choose between multiple candidates on a single election day. Ranked-choice voting could see its biggest test in the next election in Maine, where voters will choose whether to switch to the system to elect both chambers of Congress, the state legislature and governor. Richie said under the state's political culture, where multiple, independent candidates are commonplace, voters are uniquely situated to see the benefits of alternate voting.”
  • Tad Daley and Gregory Wright of Truthdig imagine what a rebuilt American democracy might look like:Consider just how much civic engagement might increase from some of these proposed reforms. Ranked-choice voting, proportional representation, a president chosen by nationwide popular vote—these kinds of things, in a stroke, would make citizens feel like their voices actually counted for something. And it would provide them with incentives to keep participating in the affairs of their communities long after Election Day as well.” 
  • Kyle Bailey of The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting, writes about how ranked choice voting could empower independent voters in Maine and beyond in the Independent Voter Network: “Political independents will be watching this race closely over the coming months. Maine could become a model for other states that are considering reforms like ranked choice voting to give voters more voice and more choice in our democracy, especially in states where elections with more than two candidates are common.”
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