Voices & Choices

Editorial, opinion support for RCV in 2018

Editorial, opinion support for RCV in 2018

In 2018, there has been a significant increase in editorial board support for ranked choice voting. Some highlights:

Editorials


Give ranked voting a shot. Our democracy would benefit.

The Editorial Board on June 14, 2018

Montgomery County and other localities should consider a reform that empowers the majority by allowing voters to rank their choices. Ranked-choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting, has been used successfully in other countries as well as a growing number of U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Santa Fe, N.M., and Minneapolis… Among the benefits... cited by communities that have gone to ranked-choice voting: more positive campaigning by candidates... who recognize the need to earn second- and third-choice backing of voters who support their rivals; a more engaged and informed electorate; and voters freed from having to weigh their preference against their calculation of who has a chance to win.

Read the full editorial here.

 

Vote for Me! For second place, at least?


The Editorial Board on June 9, 2018

What if we’ve been electing our politicians the wrong way this whole time?

...More than a dozen American cities have adopted ranked-choice voting, including San Francisco; Minneapolis; St. Paul; and Santa Fe, N.M. Nearly everywhere it’s in use, voters and candidates say they’re happier with it. This is probably because it encourages candidates to reach out to as many voters as possible… Aiming for broad appeal also results in more positive and substantive campaigns, [advocates] say, because candidates don’t want to risk attacking their opponents and turning off voters who might be willing to list them as a second or third choice.

Ranked-choice voting can’t single-handedly fix America’s broken elections, but it’s a worthwhile experiment, and it’s already proved to make for a better process, particularly in candidate-heavy primaries. If it’s combined with other electoral reforms, like multimember districts that can more accurately reflect the political makeup of a region, it could do even more to help voters feel that their voices are being heard, even if they’re in the minority. And that could help drive up turnout, which is notoriously bad in midterm elections.

Read the full editorial here.

 

For better elections, give ranked-choice voting a chance

The Editorial Board on August 7, 2018

Ranked-choice voting comes with many advantages. It invites the electorate to weigh pluses and minuses of a broader slate of candidates. It eliminates the split among like-minded constituencies, which can in turn help to elect more diverse candidates. At a time when Massachusetts has the least diverse state legislature, ranked choice is an upgrade worth enacting… Because the ranked-choice system is associated with an increase in voter engagement, it also results in greater turnout at the polls. It often prompts candidates to run less acrimonious campaigns. That’s because all candidates know they have to appeal to diehard supporters of other candidates in order to earn the second and third spots on the ballot. The Massachusetts Legislature would be wise to adopt ranked-choice voting.

Read the full editorial here.

 

Historic ranked-choice vote worked as promised

The Editorial Board on June 24, 2018

With Maine’s historic statewide first-in-the-nation ranked-choice election behind us, we have witnessed a massive change – at least among the way opponents talk about it…  Few voters reported being confused by the process. And there is no evidence that ballots were “thrown out” before the end of the process. At least in the Democratic primary for governor, where the most rounds of runoffs were needed to pick a winner, almost everyone who voted expressed a preference between the top two candidates.

Read the full editorial here.

 

An election reform agenda for Maryland’s next governor and legislature

The Editorial Board on October 15, 2018

Ranked choice voting has been gaining in popularity — Maine began using it statewide this year — and it offers a chance for voters to feel that their voices are being heard. ...It’s particularly useful in crowded primary fields, like the one Democrats just fielded for governor. It also tends to cut down on negative campaigning — another big reason voters have been driven away from the parties — because candidates can’t just count on appealing to their bases; they also need to play for second- or third-choice votes.

Read the full editorial here.

 

American democracy’s built-in bias toward rural Republicans

The Editorial Board on July 12, 2018

The aim should be to give office-seekers a reason to build bridges with opponents rather than torch them. If partisanship declined as a result, so would pressure on voters to stick to their tribe. That could make both parties competitive in rural and urban areas again, helping to restore majority rule. One option, adopted in Maine this year and already proposed in a bill in Congress for use nationwide, is “ranked-choice voting” (RCV), in which voters list candidates in order of preference. ...Voting reform is not the whole answer to partisanship and built-in bias, but it would help. It is hard, but not outlandish. To maintain the trust of all Americans, the world’s oldest constitutional democracy needs to reform itself.

Read the full editorial here.

 

Opinion columnists

One reform to save America

David Brooks on May 31, 2018

The good news is that attention seems to be shifting to ranked-choice voting, a change that would have much bigger and better effects…… Right now our politics is heading in a truly horrendous direction — with vicious, binary political divisions overlapping with and exacerbating historical racial divisions. If we’re going to have just one structural reform to head off that nightmare, ranked-choice voting in multimember districts is the one to choose.

Read the full article here.

Ranked choice voting is easier than it sounds. Maybe it would cure our awful politics.

Peter Fromuth on September 6, 2018

Ranked choice voting replaces the fear-based logic of winner-take-all with a kind of guilt-free-diet style of voting: lots of choices, no spoiler risk. In “RCV,” as it’s called here in Maine, voters rank candidates by order of preference from first to last, ballots are counted, the candidate in last place is eliminated, his or her votes are reassigned to the voters’ next choices, and the process starts again until a candidate wins a majority. In short, this system unites voters’ choices with their votes.

Ranked choice, like polarization, is self-reinforcing. Polarization causes dysfunction, which causes frustration and anger, causing more polarization. Ranked choice creates, well, more choices, which creates more diverse voters, creating more need for compromise, and more space for government to govern. James Madison would approve.

Read the full article here.

 

Don’t worry, all is not lost. State and local activists are fixing our elections

Joshua A. Douglas on October 11, 2018

There have also been many local wins, such as the adoption of ranked choice voting. This alternative voting method lets voters rank candidates in order of preference, leading to a better sense of the electorate’s overall desires, no need for runoff elections, and less negative campaigning. It’s now the norm in several cities across the country and in some statewide elections in Maine.

Read the full article here.

 

How Illinois voters could get a shot of ‘instant democracy’

Eric Zorn on March 9, 2018

Your heart tells you to vote for the candidate you believe will best represent and advance your values. But sometimes your head tells you that your favorite candidate is only a spoiler and that you should vote instead for one of the top two candidates in the polls. Ranked-choice voting reconciles that conflict by eliminating the fear of spoilers.

Read the full article here.

 

Chance the Rapper is right to criticize the two-party system

Briahna Joy Gray on April 27, 2018

“..Luckily there's a solution to this two-party bind that does not require the political gamble associated with a third-party challenge: Ranked Choice Voting…[To] fully secure the franchise for all Americans, it's crucial that we be able to make electoral decisions free from the constraints of the spoiler effect, especially given the lesser-of-two-evilism that resulted in Trump's election. Admonishing third-party candidates as “spoilers” without addressing the systemic changes necessary to avoid spoiled elections is a hypocritical half-measure that only stigmatizes the free exercise of the franchise.

Read the full article here.

 

Proportional representation could save America

Matthew Yglesias on October 15, 2018

Sometimes there are simple solutions to complicated problems. And I, personally, have long thought that ...the thorny complex of issues related to polarization and the increasing bitterness of American politics might have a relatively simple solution: multi-member House districts…. Voters would vote via ranked-choice voting, and you then end up with a proportional result. We are too big and too diverse for a single unified vision to garner majority support,,... It would be better to have a country where everyone is voting for a party they are genuinely enthusiastic about, and then because no such party commands majority support, the leaders need to do some bargaining.

Read the full article here.

 

How Utahns could one day vote for more than one candidate per race

Jay Evensen on October 10, 2018

Ranked-choice voting could be coming to a race near you.This would be an attempt to answer the age-old question of American democracy: How few votes can a winner receive and still be considered the voters' choice? ...The idea is intriguing, however, for two other reasons. The first has to do with civility. In theory, at least, candidates won't run negative ads against their opponents because they would want to stay in contention for second-place votes. The other is that it would keep like-minded candidates from splitting the vote. Supporters point to the '16 presidential election in Utah, where some people felt a vote for third-party candidate Evan McMullin might split the Republican vote and favor Democrat Hillary Clinton. With ranked-choice voting, a person could have put McMullin and Donald Trump as the first two choices, eliminating that worry. To be clear, Utah's pilot program applies only to municipal elections in willing cities, for now. If the pilot succeeds, lawmakers might extend it to other races.

Read the full article here.


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