Voices & Choices

Hawaii and Alaska set to adopt RCV for 2020 Democratic Primary

Hawaii and Alaska set to adopt RCV for 2020 Democratic Primary

Aloha, ranked choice voting!

Facing a field of more than 15 qualified candidates, the Democratic parties of Hawaii and Alaska will both use ranked choice voting (RCV) to apportion their delegates to the Democratic National Convention. This development ensures that, in a fractured field, the candidates that receive delegates to the convention are palatable to the majority of Democratic voters.

In the Democratic primary, party rules dictate that any candidate who receives upwards of 15 percent of the vote accrues delegates at the national convention. But in a field with more than 15 candidates, it is possible that no candidate reaches that threshold, or that numerous candidates which appeal to similar constituencies ‘cancel each other out,’ causing neither to reach the threshold.  Both of these circumstances would, in effect, nullify the voices of some primary voters.

That’s where ranked choice voting comes in.

In a RealClearPolitics op-ed, FairVote President and CEO Rob Richie and Senior Fellow David Daley extol the virtues of ranked choice voting—particularly in elections that feature multiple candidates:

“Allowing voters to rank their choices minimizes wasted votes, makes voters more powerful and provides a truer read of what voters think. With large fields, RCV rewards winners who seek consensus support.”

It is heartening to see Hawaii and Alaska recognize the benefits of RCV. Hopefully, other states follow suit.

 

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