We join our nation in mourning the death of Sen. John McCain. From Vietnam to the halls of Congress, two presidential runs, and his final battle with the cancer that took his life, McCain’s unflinching duty to country is rightfully being celebrated.
Arizona’s senior senator leaves behind an accomplished if not complicated legacy: war hero, distinguished public servant, maverick political thinker. Though he often rankled liberals and conservative alike, he was never afraid to take a position that he thought was sensible and good for Americans, like ranked choice voting.
In 2002, McCain was an important ally in efforts to adopt instant runoff voting (another term for ranked choice voting) for state offices in Alaska. In a recorded statement on the state’s ballot measure, he proclaimed the system a “fair voting method,” citing the cost-savings and protections of majority rule that would benefit Alaskan voters.
Although the initiative was unsuccessful, McCain’s early support for electoral reforms continued to be cited in subsequent news coverage of ranked choice voting. He never rescinded his support, making evident that his position was not fostered by political expediency.
His work to promote bipartisanship – such as under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 – serves as further testament to his commitment to a more fair and representative democracy. He refused to compromise his values and philosophy, even when it meant standing up to party leaders or bucking the standards of an increasingly polarized political system.
McCain said in 2002 that instant runoff voting will lead to good government. We think he was right. Our nation would do well to honor his efforts to strengthen our democracy and our government, by continuing that fight.