There is a system called “Ranked-Choice” voting, also known as “Instant Run-Off” voting, that has many positive features. It has been used effectively in New Zealand, for presidential elections in India and Ireland and for the House of Representatives in Australia. And it was also used in the June 22, 2021 primary elections for local candidates in New York City. (It is also used in voting for the Academy Awards for Best Picture.) So what is it? All voters may choose to vote by ranking their order of preference for one or more of the candidates running in single-seat elections that have more than two people on the ballot. Then the votes are tallied, but only by counting each voter’s first choice. After this tally if any candidate receives a majority of first place votes, he or she is elected. But if no one receives a majority, the candidate with the least first-place votes is dropped and the results are re-tabulated. However, importantly enough, if a voter’s first-place candidate was dropped that voter’s second-most preferred candidate is counted in the second tabulation. And this process continues until a candidate has received a majority of votes to become the winner.

What are the benefits of this system? All voters are entitled to vote for the candidate whom they believe is the best without worrying about the “wasted vote” syndrome, otherwise known as the “spoiler effect.” That means that if voters really prefer a particular candidate, but are fearful that a candidate who is really not desired might profit by them not voting for that candidate’s closest rival, those voters will almost always cast their votes for the “lesser of two evils” so that the most “evil” candidate will not be elected. Not only does Ranked-Choice voting do away with that conundrum, it also means that the eventual winner will have the actual support of a majority of the voters. In addition, this system also encourages greater voter participation because the voters tend not to be so turned off by negative campaigning. Obviously third parties favor this procedure because many times their candidates are considered by many to be the most qualified, but the voters are afraid that if they support them they will be “wasting their vote.” What do you think?

Quote for the week: “How can people expect me to act my age since I have never been this old before?”

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President

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