Voices & Choices

Ranked Choice Voting: A solution to crowded 2020 primary

Ranked Choice Voting: A solution to crowded 2020 primary

Tasked with navigating a presidential nomination process in which more than two dozen legitimate candidates are expected to seek the party’s line, the Democratic Party is facing a major predicament.

Under its current system of primaries and caucuses, credible candidates can cannibalize each other, siphon off votes, and inadvertently forge a pathway to victory for a nominee who most voters find unpalatable. In fact, in certain states, no candidate might reach the 15 percent threshold necessary to accrue any delegates.

But that need not be the case.

In a joint editorial published in The Hill, U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, FairVote President Rob Richie, and Equal Citizens’ Adam Eichen frame ranked choice voting (RCV) as a potential remedy for the Democratic Party’s anticipated problems in the 2020 nomination process.  

Adopting RCV would guarantee no voter’s voice goes unheard and ensure the nominee is preferred by--or at least satisfactory to--a majority of the electorate.

Furthermore, the authors note,

“Candidates with RCV tend to run more positive campaigns, seek common ground, and respect their opponents’ supporters. That means primaries will see less of the divisive rhetoric that can weaken nominees in the general election.”

By guaranteeing voters that their choice matters and empowering candidates to run positive, issues-based campaigns, ranked choice voting serves a twofold purpose: giving the party a candidate whom its voters can coalesce around and ensuring that the candidate is not overly weakened by the primary process.

Read the full editorial here.


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