Voices & Choices

Dr. Jill Biden’s comments demonstrate why we need Ranked Choice Voting

Dr. Jill Biden’s comments demonstrate why we need Ranked Choice Voting

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, ignited a media firestorm on Monday.

At a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Dr. Biden told prospective voters,

“Your candidate might be better on, I don’t know, health care than Joe is, but you’ve got to look at who’s going to win this election. And maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, ‘O.K., I sort of personally like so-and-so better,’ but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump.”

But it needn’t be that way.

Dr. Biden’s comments make the perfect case for reforming our elections to a system that will allow voters the freedom to choose the candidate they like the most without wasting their vote. She points out a flaw in our current voting system, where voters are more likely to vote strategically for the candidate who is likely “going to win this election.”

If ranked choice voting (RCV) were implemented in the presidential primaries, voters would not have to “swallow a little bit” and vote for a candidate whom they may not fully support. Instead, voters would be free to vote their conscience without the fear that their vote will ‘spoil the election’ and throw it to a less desirable candidate--and political parties would unify behind their majority-supported candidate in the general election.

In fact, there are already six states that have proposed adopting RCV for their presidential primaries or caucuses: Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Wyoming, Nevada (for early and virtual voters), and Iowa (for voters participating in its ‘virtual caucus’).

While that development is encouraging, we urge all state Democratic parties and the DNC to more seriously consider RCV as an option to fairly winnow a 23 candidate field.


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