Reform Roundup: October 6th, 2016

Posted by Avi Steele on October 06, 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.

  • Leonid Bershidsky writes in Bloomberg View about the voting system that could rescue American politics: “It’s not inconceivable, however, that someday it could switch to a system that might have prevented the aberrations of this harrowing election year -- ranked-choice voting… Many U.S. voters this year say the major-party candidates do not represent them. Ranked choice would have alleviated their anxiety, allowing them to make a different first choice without wasting their votes.Ranked choice also could make for more substantive campaigns -- the kind one sees in some European countries with multiparty systems: The election would no longer be a gladiatorial battle between two candidates but more of a contest of agendas.” 

  • In a Special to the Bangor Daily News, Stanford’s Larry Diamond writes that Maine can bring out the “better angels” of our democracy with ranked choice voting:Americans want more choice, more openness, more flexibility and compromise, but our political institutions are producing the opposite. Only by reforming our institutions can we reshape our politics. The place to start is with the way we elect our public officials. The way our representatives and governing officials get elected shapes and constrains the way they govern. If politicians must fear being ‘tea-partied’ if they compromise, compromise will be shunned and polarization will continue to deadlock our system. If moderation and compromise are rewarded at the polls, then our democratic system will call forth, as Abraham Lincoln hoped it would in his first inaugural address, ‘the better angels of our nature.’” 

  • John Bradford, former Massachusetts State Representative (R), advocates for ranked choice voting in The Ellsworth American:“Politicians in Augusta won’t fix our broken system. Meaningful election reform will only happen if the people demand it. Ranked choice voting promotes campaigns that are about issues — not polling and viability... This legislation encourages candidates to be civil and seek the broadest public support. It will restore the principle of majority rule and make our representatives more accountable to the voting public to help end political polarization and gridlock.”

  • Bill Nemitz details the benefits that adopting ranked choice voting in Maine will have for democracy: “No more carping for the next two, four or six years about how the majority of Maine has been hijacked by a minority of voters. No more campaign strategies based solely on dividing and conquering – and to hell with the 60 percent or more of voters who crave a less negative, more moderate message. No more “spoiler” candidates who change the course of history with their minuscule share of the vote. No more “strategic voting” by those who now feel forced to abandon their true favorite and use their ballot as a defensive weapon against the candidate they fear the most. And, perhaps most important, better governance by elected officials who know that their re-election will hinge not on how much red meat they toss to their most rabid supporters, but on how well they represent their entire constituency.” 
  • Pedro Hernandez of FairVote California explains in Beyond Chron why Bay Area voters have a stronger voice this November with ranked choice voting: "While many voters across the country are strategically pondering how to cast their ballot, voters in four Bay Area cities (San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Leandro) will use ranked choice voting to elect its officials. They’ll have far more freedom to vote for their favorite candidates and elect leaders who will make important policy decisions with longstanding impacts over affordability, development, homelessness, transportation, and education." 

  • Doug Hanneman, editor of the Hutchinson Leader, write an editorial in favor of adopting ranked choice locally: Ranked choice voting has cross-partisan support, both statewide and locally … In an era when voters are exhausted from negative campaigning, divisiveness and general political dysfunction, it appears ranked choice voting has much to offer.”

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