On February 24th, Georgetown University, one of the more than 50 US colleges and universities that use ranked choice voting, had one of its closest student government elections in recent history. Kamar Mack and Jessica Endino won by 34 votes, counting on second and third choice support to achieve a majority.
During the first two rounds of voting Mack and Endino came in second place where they trailed the first place ticket by less than 50 votes. By the third round, the race had come down to three major tickets, Garet Williams and Habon Ali with 958 votes, Mack and Endino with 829 votes, and John Matthews and Nick Matz with 686 votes.
Before the election, Mack and Endino and Matthews and Matz crossed endorsed each other, meaning they asked their supporters to rank the other ticket second. Each ticket should have theoretically voted for each other as a second choice option. The cross-endorsement paid off for Mack and Endino. They gained 331 votes at the end of the fourth round earning them the victory with 50.74% of the vote. You can see the vote totals round by round in the graph below.
The 2017 Georgetown student government election displays how ranked choice voting incentivizes political factions, to work with one another to build coalitions and consensus in order to win elections. In the coming months, over a half a million college students, scattered around 50 college campuses, will have their voices heard during their ranked choice voting student government elections.
Image Source: Georgetown University Library