Ranked Choice Voting and the Future of Elections
Ranked Choice Voting is having a bit of a moment, and for good reason. In every election season questions get raised about how we vote, why it matters, and how we can make it better. Frustrations and tempers rise as we consistently find ourselves ‘voting for the lesser of two evils’ or ‘voting even when it makes little to no difference.’ This is where Ranked Choice Voting enters the conversation.
Ranked Choice Voting, or RCV, promises to solve these problems and many more. RCV changes voting to allow people to shift their support from losing candidates, or ‘sure wins’ to the candidates that they actually support and align with.
How does it work?
On a RCV ballot, voters can rank candidates instead of choosing only one. The process varies a little bit, but in a single winner election, if no candidate receives the majority of votes, the last-place candidate is eliminated and those who marked that candidate as their first choice get their second choice counted instead. This can be thought of as an instant run off. Essentially, voters rank their candidates and as their choices are eliminated their subsequent choices are automatically counted.
RCV allows voters to support outside candidates without worrying about a waisted ballot, or a vote that won’t matter. This has other perks as well. Candidates are incentivised to campaign for those second and third choice spots which means more civil elections, less negative campaigning, and less campaigning toward the extreme political spectrums.
Why we Support Ranked Choice Voting
Mindshare Labs first came across Ranked Choice voting almost 4 years ago when Santa Fe New Mexico introduced it for their city councilor race. We were hired to develop the website and practice ballot. It was during this project that we realized just how profound this change could be, even at a local level. Since then we’ve developed many educational websites that help to educate voters about RCV. The benefits are widely known and include:
- Elimination Unnecessary Primary and Runoff Elections
- Candidates Win with the Majority of Support
- Increased Civility in Campaigns
- Promoting Fair Representation
- Helps to Prevent Spoiler Candidates
Opponents of RCV have very little argument, they often criticize the system for being too complicated. Honestly, voters are smart, and this argument only serves to insult our voting population.