Last week, Rep. Justin Amash threw a wrench into the presidential race by announcing the formation of an exploratory committee for a potential Libertarian Party bid.
His actions drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike—both of whom fear that Amash could “spoil the election” for their party by drawing votes away from their preferred candidate.
But it needn’t be that way. If America used ranked choice voting (RCV) in its presidential elections, voters wouldn’t have to agonize over “splitting the vote” and throwing the election to their least favorite candidate. Instead, they could vote their conscience, armed with the knowledge that, if their first-choice candidate is eliminated, their voice will still be heard.
FairVote President and CEO Rob Richie and FairVote Senior Fellow David Daley make this point in a recent Salon op-ed, calling for RCV to replace the unfortunately-time-honored tradition of fretting over—and ultimately assigning blame to—third party presidential bids.
“RCV would protect fair outcomes,” Richie and Daley write. “Instead of scolding the small yet sometimes decisive percentage that votes third-party, both Republicans and Democrats ought to fix the real problem: An anti-majoritarian system that allows a candidate to win all of a state's Electoral College votes, sometimes with far less than a majority of the votes cast. …Voters would be empowered. Majorities would rule.”
It is clear that RCV is a common-sense solution to third party “spoilers.” In fact, Maine is using such a system to allocate its electoral votes this fall.
As Richie and Daley strongly assert: “Maine has shown us the first step. It's time for other states to follow.”