Reform Roundup: January 13th, 2017

Posted by Austin Plier on January 13, 2017

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. We also invite you to read these highlights of great press for ranked choice voting in 2016.

  • E.J. Dionne Jr. writes in the Washington Post in support of a national popular vote for president using ranked choice voting: “...to be consistent with my leanings toward majoritarianism, I’d favor a popular vote with an instant runoff in which voters could rank their choices. The transfer of second-preference ballots would eventually produce a majority winner.”

  • Edward Foley of the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University voiced his support for ranked choice voting in presidential elections: “[A] ranked-choice ballot not only provides the definitive determination of the majority’s preference, which democracy deserves, but also enables a robust multiplicity of candidates without them causing problems.”

  • Former presidential candidate Jill Stein expresses the urgency for electoral reform in an OpEd for The Guardian: “We must ensure the right to vote without fear by adopting Ranked Choice Voting, a system that lets you rank your choices; if your first choice loses, your vote is automatically reassigned to your second option. This effectively ends the politics of fear, and lets people vote for the greater good, instead of the lesser evil.”

  • Carl M. Cannon highlights ways to level the playing field for third party candidates for RealClearPolitics: “Another emphasis is tweaking election rules in ways that produce more responsible candidates. These efforts range from California’s “jungle” primaries to “ranked choice” voting—recently adopted in Maine—in which voters rank their top three candidates in order. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, the candidate with the least “first choice” votes is eliminated.”

  • Sacramento Bee opinion writer Foon Rhee notes that there are opportunities to advance election reform locally in California: “For instance, nearly all cities allow council candidates to be elected even if they don’t win a majority of the vote, as long as they win the most votes. So in a crowded field, a candidate rejected by most voters can still win. While plurality voting is state law for cities that don’t have their own charters, it’s not very democratic. Twenty larger cities require the winner to get a clear majority – 16 in a separate runoff election, like Sacramento, and four in an “instant runoff” where voters rank their choices.”

  • John Nichols writes about solutions to gerrymandering in Wisconsin in The Cap Times: "[M]ost large countries adopt different approaches to produce legislative bodies that are representative of the regional diversity and the popular will. One approach is to have proportional representation at the state, provincial or regional levels… But in the absence of a proportional system — or the even more democratic ranked-choice system that Maine recently adopted — Wisconsin could still produce fairer and more representative results."

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