Voices & Choices

Ranked Choice Voting Unites Parties Across the Political Spectrum

Ranked Choice Voting Unites Parties Across the Political Spectrum

Need more proof that ranked choice voting (RCV) transcends political ideology, benefiting voters across the political spectrum?

How about this: the United Kingdom’s largest left-wing party is electing its leader via RCV and, at the same time, Canada’s largest right-wing party is doing the same. And they’re doing it entirely by their own choice, based on party rules.

Britain’s Labour Party, facing a leadership void following Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation, is currently conducting a party-run national primary with ranked choice voting to elect his successor. Its month-long process, which gives an equally weighted vote to party members and registered and affiliated supporters, will be conducted through mail via single-winner RCV.  There are three candidates, and an instant runoff likely will decide the outcome. The image below, courtesy of the BBC, provides a great overview of the process. 

Simultaneously, the Conservative Party of Canada is administering its own leadership elections via a single-winner RCV process that equally weights each of Canada’s electoral districts. The candidates are currently in the process of meeting entry requirements; voting will commence in April. In its last national leadership election with RCV in 2017, 14 candidates ran.

Why have both of these parties—which exist on opposite ends of the political spectrum—adopted RCV for their respective leadership elections?

Frankly, because RCV is not partisan; it’s just common sense. And perhaps the single most sensible use of RCV is when a party is trying to pick a leader, just as Republicans and Democrats are picking presidential nominees in the U.S. this year.

Those who devised leadership election procedures for both parties recognize RCV’s ability to unify a party.  By ensuring that a candidate with the support of a majority of the party’s electorate wins its leadership election, RCV promotes stronger, more unified, and more reflective leadership.






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