As Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) gains traction at the federal, state, and municipal levels, it has earned increased attention in the national spotlight. Primed for first-time use in the Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, and Wyoming 2020 Democratic primary elections, RCV appears poised for a breakthrough on the national stage. Looking to RCV’s future success, securing bipartisan support will be essential in passing RCV legislation nationwide.
So far, the signs seem promising. RCV has been embraced in both liberal and conservative states at the municipal levels. RCV has been a longtime staple of elections in areas like California, Colorado, and Minnesota. Recently, it has been implemented in Utah municipality elections, where it received positive reviews. Because of its success, Republican State Representative Marc Roberts, who authored the Utah RCV legislation, “sent letters outlining his support of ranked-choice voting to interested Republican lawmakers in Tennessee and Washington state in his continuing effort to reach conservative policymakers in other states.”
Roberts is one of many prominent Republicans to support RCV. In a February 8th showing of the Ben Shapiro Show, Shapiro himself voiced his support for RCV. When asked if he would endorse RCV for future elections, Shapiro responded that “I think it’s a clever idea, and I agree with you that it would actually embolden people to vote for third parties more often which frankly I think would be a good thing. More choices are better in American politics and the two-party system has basically resulted in a long-standing agreement that nobody will ever take tough positions now in anything related to spending or anything politically unpalatable, so I’m sort of with you. I kind of like ranked choice voting.”
560315https://www.youtube.com/embed/qydnzUlP6ls0accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture
Shapiro’s sentiments have been echoed by other prominent Republican and Democratic politicians. Most notably, the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) advocated for RCV in Alaska, where he called the system a “fair voting method,” pointing to the cost-saving and protections of majority rule that would benefit Alaskan voters.
Several presidential candidates have recently voiced their support for RCV, including Republican Bill Weld and Democratic Party frontrunner Bernie Sanders. Former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang backed RCV as a candidate and last weekend made a strong case for it in his new role as a CNN analyst. In a February 22nd program on CNN, Yang voiced his support for RCV, saying that “the best [electoral] process would be primaries with ranked choice voting.” Yang’s statements to a national audience demonstrate the increased awareness RCV is garnering nationwide as people express frustrations with the democratic process.
Looking to the future, Democrats and Republicans must join together to realize that RCV is essential in improving the health of our democracies. Continuing to grow support from both sides will be a key factor in passing future national and state-level RCV legislation and for parties to build RCV into their presidential nomination rules.