Do you find ranked-choice voting confusing? Do you know what RCV is? Let’s discover this new way of voting used by Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, and Wyoming. Nevada used this method for absentee caucus voters. It is also used in some cities.
Proponents of ranked-choice voting (RCV) say it is fair and straightforward since the most popular candidate wins. They say it avoids voting for “the lesser of two evils.’ Opponents say it is confusing and presents delays in knowing the winner. It is also possible that the person with the most votes but not at least 50% could lose the election in additional rounds of voting.
Basically, you rank the candidates in order of your preference (first, second, third, fourth, etc.) on your ballot. This means you would need to become familiar with more candidates in a race to know how to place them. If you don’t understand RCV, you might only rank your first choice. Indeed, learning about each candidate is a good thing, but failure to rank each candidate could sometimes nullify your vote.
Additionally, have you ever seen a major city ballot or a densely populated state ballot? There are many candidates. Voting could take a while due to ranking rather than voting for one contender.
Here’s how it works (simplified):
If a candidate wins 50% of the vote or higher, the election is over.
Next, if voters’ first choice is not 50% or higher, the name on the ballot with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated. Think of three pies in a contest. Guests select the cherry pie over the apple pie and the pecan pie. How do you know? The cherry pie had slightly less than 35% left, the apple pie had 33% remaining, and the pecan pie had 32% left over. In other words, the cherry and apple pie were more guests’ first and second choices. Pecan pie was the first choice for fewer guests, and they ranked apple and cherry as second or third.
The next round of pie voting would eliminate pecan pie. However, your pecan pie vote automatically becomes your second choice in the cherry/apple run-off. That’s right. You still have cherry, apple, and pecan in the ballot contest. Are you confused yet? Me, too.
The process continues, with maybe another contender being eliminated until there is a winner with 50% or more of the vote. I won’t predict a winner. I’m already in hot water with southern pecan pie lovers everywhere. (I’m a former Texan, so no harm intended!)
It’s important to consider why someone would prefer ranked-choice voting. RCV is a process to make voting for “the lesser of two evils” less likely. On the other hand, is simplicity preferable to the risk of voter exhaustion in a nation of 350 million people? Given these points, we need to become more informed.
In any case, have you used ranked-choice voting? What is your experience? Would our nation become more savvy in this method if given time? Or does all of this change come with warning signs?
Let us know your thoughts but remember: civil discourse only. Do not name or discuss influencers, celebrities, politicians, or political parties. It only leads to uncivil discourse. No additional links or pictures, please.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. 🇺🇸
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