Reform Roundup: October 14th, 2016

Posted by Avi Steele on October 14, 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. We also invite you to read these highlights of great press for ranked choice voting in 2016.

  • Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean announces his support for ranked choice voting in an Op-Ed to the New York Times: “Maine next month can lead the nation in turning our lose-lose electoral rules into a win-win for everyone - one where minor parties can compete on a more level playing field, yet major parties don’t have to fear being “spoiled” … It is fitting that Maine’s motto is ‘the way life should be.’ I believe ranked-choice voting represents what democracy will be. It’s a solution to the problem of how to uphold majority rule and give more voice to voters by presenting them with more than two options.” 

  • In a Special to the Portland Press Herald, Jim Shaffer extolls the economic benefits of voting Yes on Maine’s Question 5:We have a unique opportunity this year to combat extreme politics and negative campaigning. Ranked-choice voting isn’t a panacea, but it’s been tried and tested, and it’s something we can do now to empower voters and encourage politicians to engage with one another differently. Question 5 will help to put us on the path to solving problems once again, so we can grow Maine’s economy, create jobs and improve our quality of life.” 

  • Greg Orman writes at RealClearPolitics why ranked choice voting makes sense: "If there’s one thing this election has taught us, it’s that the rules matter. Ranked-choice voting is one rule change that the voters can make to give themselves more choice and a bigger voice in our government – and eliminate the need to pick the lesser of two evils once and for all. Maine has a chance to lead the nation to a better political environment."

  • Paul Raeburn writes in Newsweek how the 2016 election would be different with ranked choice voting: "In November, Maine voters will decide whether to adopt Question Five, which would establish ranked-choice voting for the state’s 2018 primary and elections for governor, House, the Senate and the state Legislature. Game theorists argue that a ranked system could have advantages in the presidential election too..."

  • Former FairVote intern Ben Fogarty explains how ranked choice voting would improve American democracy in a letter to the Chicago Tribune: “The effects of ranked choice voting are remarkable. When voters have the opportunity to rank their choices, they can evaluate candidates solely on their policy positions and not on their chances of winning because even if their favorite candidates cannot win, their votes will still count for their next choices. This would thoroughly quash the tired idea that a vote for someone outside the two major parties is a ‘wasted vote.’ Moreover, ranked-choice voting would truly free voters who are disappointed with the major parties’ nominees to rebuke the two major parties.” 

  • Charles Morrison and Lucien Gosselin pen a column for the Sun Journal to show how ranked choice voting would improve politics in their home state: “Voting ‘yes’ on Question 5 to enact ranked-choice voting would improve politics in Maine for the future. It changes the way politicians engage with voters and with one another on the campaign trail, and it rewards leaders who approach the political process with a more collaborative spirit.” 

  • Minnesota State Senator Scott Newman explains his bill, which would allow localities to adopt ranked choice voting, in a letter to the Hutchinson Leader: “This bill is an excellent example of bipartisan cooperation to advance a new idea for the benefit of constituents rather than the too often perceived ‘general political dysfunction’ that so many believe dominate the Minnesota Legislature.”

  • Patricia Hohl offers her views in the MetroWest Daily News on the importance and challenges of gender parity: “If we want more women in office we need more women to seek office. To close the gender gap in elections, women need to be mentored and qualified women need to be asked to run. There are organizations working to create a pipeline to office for women but we need to do more. All political parties should actively recruit qualified women to run. And any comments that overtly or discreetly focus on completely irrelevant qualities of any candidate need to be called out and named for what they are – sexism.” 

  • Former county commissioner and state senator Dennis Damon of Maine authors a letter to the Ellsworth American in response to inaccurate editorials:Ranked choice voting maintains our democracy, ‘majority rule.’ It also meets constitutional requirements. It has been used legally across the country for years, including Portland, Maine. Courts in four states have ruled the ranked choice voting is fully constitutional and captures truer voter preferences. Voters in every U.S. city where it is used overwhelmingly support it ... The American and the Islander claim ‘Question 5 puts the cart before the horse …’ In fact, Question 5 puts the cart right where it ought to be. Changing the way we elect our state’s leaders is a decision that must be made by the voters.”

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