Voices & Choices

Zorn: Ranked choice voting the solution to spoilers and political fraud

Zorn: Ranked choice voting the solution to spoilers and political fraud

Election fraud, fake signatures and so-called “spoilers” have taken center stage as races heat up for the 2018 midterms. But this is far from the first time candidates have played fast and loose with the rules of the game to their advantage.

Chicago Tribune reporter Eric Zorn in his latest column names recent and historical examples from Illinois elections in which political hopefuls and their supporters have propped up sham candidates to take away votes from their competitors.

And while at least one of those dirty political tricks — from the 2016 Democratic primary for the 22nd District in Illinois House of Representatives — is facing legal challenges, there’s an even better way than the courts to ensure justice and democracy prevail: ranked choice voting.

Zorn hails ranked choice voting, also known as instant runoff voting, as a way to “render all such deception useless.”

Eliminating the “spoiler effect” by letting voters rank their preferred candidates is one major benefit of ranked choice voting over the less democratic, majority rules system. It also motivates candidates to collaborate versus campaigning against one another, creating a more civil political process.

Zorn suggests putting the idea to Illinois voters. He predicts a success similar to Maine, where voters have thrown their weight behind ranked choice voting under two ballot measures. We think it’s a good call, and one state leaders would do well to seriously consider.

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