Forget about how many people it takes to change a lightbulb. In Phoenix, Arizona, it’s much more apt to consider how many times city voters must return to the polls to choose their city leaders?
Indeed, campaign season has become something of a year-round event in the country’s fifth largest city, as talk turns to the upcoming May runoffs, which will be the third city elections in six months. And with voters already feeling the fatigue of a seemingly endless election season - not to mention the cost for city taxpayers - ranked choice voting is gaining support as a viable remedy.
As Rivko Knox, a Phoenix resident and leader in the area chapter of the League of Women Voters wrote in a recent op-ed for the Arizona Republic,
“If the voters in Phoenix had been able to use RCV in November, we would have saved precious city funds, and had more peace and quiet over the past three months.”
As Knox explained, ranked choice voting acts as an instant runoff, allowing the four candidates in the original November special election to compete head-to-head to elect the most broadly supported winner in a single, efficient election, without the high cost and low turnout March top-two runoff election.
Meanwhile, the winner of the all-important mayoral post would be forced to appeal to broad swaths of the electorate, rather than simply winning the support of the dismally few voters who chose to return to the polls for a runoff.
And as recognition and use of this effective reform continues to spread nationwide, it’s time for Phoenix to follow suit - saving its taxpayers money and sanity, as Knox wrote.
Read the full op-ed here.