On June 7, 2016, Allegheny College awarded their 5th annual Prize for Civility in Public Life to Vice President Joe Biden and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) for their continued dedication to civility during contentious policy debates and elections. Both the president of the college, James H. Mullen, Jr. and former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge awarded the prizes. In particular, Ridge and Mullen highlighted Joe Biden’s statements during his 2015 speech in which he declined to enter the presidential race. In it, he called for Democrats to not “look at Republicans as our enemy.” The men also commended Senator McCain for his attempts to maintain civility during his 2008 presidential bid, specifically correcting an audience member’s misrepresentation of then-Senator Barack Obama during a town hall meeting.
This year's award recipients demonstrated the importance of civility in elections. It just so happens that Senator McCain is a long-time supporter of ranked choice voting. He has advocated in the past that "elected leaders will be more likely to listen to all and cities will be able to enjoy big tax savings and keep majority rule." Ranked choice voting is a great way of incentivizing campaign civility and has been shown to reduce the types of negative campaigning and ugly personal attacks that often pervade our politics.