This year’s Democratic primary makes a good case for ranked-choice voting


Did you vote in the primary only to see your top candidate drop out before the votes were even counted?

Maddening, isn’t it?

And how many times have you seen a candidate “win” an election who got less than a third of the total vote count? Who wants a candidate holding office that two thirds of the electorate didn’t even want in office?

These situations make the case for ranked-choice voting, a fairer system of voting that is increasingly being used across the country.

And it’s no wonder.

Example of ranked choice voting ballot

What is ranked choice voting?

Ranked choice voting allows you to specify who your first, second and third favorite candidates are, in that order. If your first candidate gets the fewest votes, they are dropped from the count, and the second choices of all the people who voted for that big-time loser are then apportioned to the other candidates. This continues until one candidate reaches at least 50% of the total votes cast. That way, at least 50% of the electorate will have voted for the winner.

What are the benefits of ranked choice voting?

Ranked choice voting promotes majority support for candidates put in office. There’s less incentive to run a negative, mud-slinging, polarizing campaign, and encourages candidates to be more positive since all the candidates are trying to win everyone’s votes. It encourages more people to run for office because it eliminates fear of splitting the vote with other, similar candidates. And it can save states, counties and cities a lot of money by ending the need for expensive runoff elections.

In Colorado, Basalt and Telluride have started using ranked choice voting. Las Cruces and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and St. Paul, Minnesota and the entire state of Maine use it. New York City has adopted rank choice voting, and so have Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Nevada and Wyoming, which all used it in this last primary election.

It’s clearly a better way of doing things.

The City of Grand Junction could adopt it. Mesa County could adopt it. The entire state of Colorado could adopt it, too.

It makes quite a bit more sense than the way we have been doing it.

For more information go to FairVote.org, and watch the video above to get a better idea about how ranked-choice voting works.

Isn’t it time we started talking about switching to ranked choice voting?

 

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