Delays in results for the Iowa Democratic Caucus have led to increased scrutiny over the way we conduct our presidential elections. Administrative difficulties in running the Iowa Caucus, as well as voters’ frustrations navigating through the large pool of candidates, have led to wide calls for reform, most notably Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).
Recently, prominent politicians have shown an outpour of interest in considering RCV at the federal, state, and municipal levels. Most notably, presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Bill Weld, and Michael Bennet have advocated for RCV in their 2020 platforms. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) have introduced federal RCV legislation in the House. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) expressed interest in considering RCV, asking if “there[‘s] any solid reason to be against” it.
The RCV movement is by no means limited to politicians. Social media interest for RCV has escalated significantly from journalists, academics, and celebrities alike. Since the Iowa Caucus, FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver, Senior Politics Editor for The Atlantic John Hendrickson, freelance journalist David M. Perry, and PodSaveAmerica (hosted by Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor, and Jon Lovett), have all expressed support for RCV. UVA Professor Sally Hudson, and University of Kentucky Professor Joshua Douglas have also tweeted in favor of RCV.
This wave of social media attention comes at a significant time, coinciding with recent NY Times and The Atlantic coverage on RCV’s usage in the Democratic Primaries. While the Iowa Caucus has been a longstanding tradition, there are steps that we can take to improve our democratic processes. Recognizing that we can preserve the positive aspects of the Iowa Caucus (like enabling voter’s to have a second choice), while eliminating the administrative fiasco surrounding it, will be essential in RCV’s future success.
With an increased spotlight on our electoral procedures and an unwieldy Democratic field, the opportunity is now for RCV reform. Alaska, Kansas, Hawaii, and Wyoming will be the first states to employ RCV in the presidential primary elections, marking a key milestone in RCV’s legalization.
Although RCV has gained attention because of the Iowa Democratic Caucus, RCV is by no means a partisan solution. Its successful employment in both conservative and liberal areas demonstrates that it transcends party lines. By ensuring majority support, reducing opportunities for strategic voting, and discouraging negative campaigning, RCV can make our elections more civil and reduce polarization in our country, making way for the reemergence of cross-cutting identities such as a California Republican or a South Carolina Democrat.
Continue this movement for RCV and tweet out #RankedChoiceVoting now!
RCV Discussion on Twitter: