Voices & Choices

Reform Roundup: September 16th, 2016

Reform Roundup: September 16th, 2016

Catch up on the week’s electoral reform news with our round up of folks across the country writing and talking about FairVote’s reform vision: 

  • Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Jo Craven McGinty lists the benefits of RCV for marginalized voices in politics: “Proponents of ranked-choice voting, which is also called instant-runoff voting, say it eliminates spoilers and allows citizens to vote for the candidate they most strongly support, even if it’s a long shot. In the current presidential campaign, ranked-choice voting might have altered the outcome of the primaries, and in a general election, it could improve the chances of a third-party candidate.”

  • David Blatt, the executive director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, dissects the polarized, low-turnout Oklahoma runoff primary elections in the Enid News & Eagle: “Oklahoma is one of only seven states, all in the South, that uses a primary runoff system. There are several good options for replacing the runoff, such as a nonpartisan top-two primary system; an instant runoff with ranked choice voting; or simply declaring the candidate with the most votes the winner, even they don’t have majority support. By keeping the primary runoff, Oklahoma makes elections more expensive and ensures that important races are decided by a significantly shrunken electorate.”

  • Advocate Matt West writes a guest column in The Oregonian advocating for a freer electoral model in light of this year’s contentious election cycle: “It is time we update our election process. Luckily, this change does not need to take place at the federal level. The management of elections is generally left to the state and local governments, so this is something that Oregonians can do on their own. The bipartisan group FairVote provides information on this topic, and it is worth visiting their website... While it's too late to get ranked choice voting on the Oregonian ballot for 2016, now is the perfect time to start working towards future elections.

  • FairVote Executive Director Rob Richie writes in the Orlando Sentinel that ranked choice voting would better elect consensus winners in Florida’s congressional and state primaries: “Adopting ranked choice voting accommodates having voter choice in primaries. It's good for parties, as they are more likely to get a nominee whom voters can rally behind. It's good for voters, as they can avoid strategic considerations and always vote for their favorite without fear of ‘wasting their vote’ on ‘spoilers.’”

  • Francis Fukuyama, senior fellow at Stanford University, describes in the San Francisco Chronicle how the current electoral system creates a government geared towards gridlock: “A healthy democratic political system should create institutional rules that soften polarized positions and force compromise. Our system does the opposite, distributing power much more broadly than other modern democracies: We have a separately elected executive, a powerful upper house of our legislature, a judiciary that routinely overturns legislation, and delegation of many functions to state and local government …  In the electoral system, a shift toward preferential ballots such as instant-runoff or ranked-choice voting would… provide greater opportunity for third-party candidates to arise.”

  • Michael J. Maguire writes in the Boston Herald that ranked choice voting would liberate voters and could save money locally: In this year’s election, IRV (Instant Runoff Voting, also known as Ranked Choice Voting) would allow citizens to vote for Johnson or Stein without jeopardizing their overall right- or left-leaning stance. If the minor parties get enough votes, the two major parties would have to respond in order to keep their candidates viable. Financially IRV would save towns millions of dollars in municipal elections. The last preliminary mayoral election in Boston featured 12 candidates. Instead of having a primary and a final, IRV would handle both at once. With some work IRV could be applied to a real national popular voting system. With very minor adjustments, IRV could be adopted in each state now. We could still have an Electoral College and the results would more accurately reflect the will of the citizens, especially in the battleground states.

  • Mark Schmitt, writing on Vox, explains how the two party system squeezes out debate and new ideas: “Today there are alternative coalitions that one could imagine, in theory, but that never come together. There could be a left-right cross-party coalition forming around, say, economic development in areas hit hard by the decline of the coal industry or one advocating stronger supports for Social Security. But the structures of the electoral system …  make those alliances impossible to achieve in real life. Additional parties — even parties that you or I might not favor — could open up Congress and create new opportunities for bargaining and coalition building on unusual lines.”

Image Source: Denise Cross

Join Us Today to Help Create a More Perfect Union