Voices & Choices

FairVote Webinar Rewind: The Conservative Argument for RCV

FairVote Webinar Rewind: The Conservative Argument for RCV

On Tuesday, October 27, FairVote hosted a webinar called The Conservative Argument for RCV as part of our Fall series on The Future of American American Elections.

FairVote senior communications fellow David Daley moderated the event. The panelists were Cato Institute senior fellow Walter Olson, attorney and FairVote board member Jennifer Nassour, and Stan Lockhart, a leader of Utah Ranked Choice Voting and former Chair of the Utah Republican Party.

The webinar demonstrated why support for RCV stretches across the political spectrum, and how using RCV yourself is one of the best ways to see its benefits.

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  • Nassour discusses the importance of competitiveness in our elections, and why any party having a monopoly on power is bad for democracy (7:24).
  • Lockhart explains his evolution from opposing RCV to supporting it. After grassroots activists convinced the Utah Republican Party to use it in their state conventions, he saw that it was easy to use and it incentivized voters to become more informed about the races on the ballot (11:35).
  • Olson says it is natural for libertarians to support RCV because the political spectrum is not a clean binary, and RCV allows people to have more choices that closely fit with what they actually want (19:43).
  • Nassour gives examples of Massachusetts elections where Republicans may have benefitted from RCV (25:25). She doubts whether candidates who are able to win with small pluralities of the vote will adequately represent the views of all voters once elected.
  • Lockhart says that the millennial generation loves RCV because it engages them in the electoral process with a real opportunity to express their will (29:56).
  • Lockhart argues that plurality elections are open to manipulation, such as one candidate recruiting a third party candidate to split their opponents’ vote (31:55). He says RCV would end these electoral games.
  • Olson says that plurality voting and gerrymandering consistently benefit incumbents, disincentivizing incumbents from doing anything about the problem (36:16).
  • Nassour gives an ‘elevator pitch’ to those hearing about RCV for the first time, emphasizing that it gives voters more choice and thus more freedom (45:38). Olson adds that comparing RCV to an ‘instant runoff’ is a quick description most people will understand (48:32).
  • Lockhart says that using RCV yourself is the best way to convince people to support it, because they’ll realize it is easy and they like it (53:54).

All are welcome to join our next webinar on November 17 at 12 pm, covering Maine’s historic first ever use of RCV in a presidential election. You can sign up for the webinar here.

If you want to watch the past webinars we have held this year, a full list can be found here.


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