Voices & Choices

Meet the Team: Ben Lempert

Meet the Team: Ben Lempert

The first few weeks of graduate school in political science left me confused. We didn’t discuss policy. We didn’t discuss, say, what health care plan we supported. We talked about the rules that govern how policy is made in the first place.

These issues seemed abstract. But over the course of several months, I came to understand why they matter. The rules of the game constrain and shape every policy debate we have. Our choices about elections, in particular, determine what preferences we as voters can even express.

I began to watch politics, not only policy, more closely, and I saw that one process was making an especially toxic difference: single-choice winner-take-all elections. These elections limit the policy choices available in a country of 300 million to effectively two: Republican or Democrat. They make it harder for minorities, whether communities of color or blue state Republicans, to gain positions of power.

I came to work at FairVote because I think ranked choice voting (RCV) offers a way out. RCV creates more proportional representation, has a history of giving minorities more access to political office, and lets voters elect individual representatives rather than a party slate. At FairVote, I can tackle this issue alongside colleagues with all kinds of expertise: in law, social science, and organizing. I’m excited to learn and contribute this summer.

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