Maine just became the first state to ever use the ranked choice voting system, starting only last year. Since then, a flurry of states and localities have been considering a switch to the unique system. A change to ranked voting and away from the universally used plurality voting system is beginning to be seen by many in both parties as a potential gamechanger. There is good news coming on the election method reform front coming out of Utah’s Daily Herald and written by Katie England :
The concept was discussed at a Payson City Council meeting last week, with the council opting to stay with the pilot program. Payson Mayor Bill Wright said there will be a cost savings for the city, since ranked choice voting eliminates the need for Payson to hold a primary. He also hopes it will keep the election from being as contentious as it has been in past years because candidates are trying to appeal to a wider swathe of voters.
Vineyard committed to sticking with the program at its council meeting Wednesday night, with lower costs and a shorter campaign period factoring into the decision. The city won’t hold a primary election for its two open council seats, and candidates will have until August to register to run.
Julie Fullmer, Vineyard’s mayor, said the council thoroughly researched the switch, and felt the city was in a good place to try out the method.
See the full story here. Other states and localities that have recently seen legislation proposed to make the switch to ranked choice voting include Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the city of Baltimore. Click those links for the latest related Democracy Chronicles coverage!
So what is ranked choice voting? According to Democracy Chronicles’ friends at at the nonpartisan nonprofit FairVote, an organization with its headquarters in Takoma Park, Maryland:
Ranked choice voting (RCV) makes democracy more fair and functional. It works in a variety of contexts. It is a simple change that can have a big impact. With ranked choice voting, voters can rank as many candidates as they want in order of choice. Candidates do best when they attract a strong core of first-choice support while also reaching out for second and even third choices.
When used as an “instant runoff” to elect a single candidate like a mayor or a governor, RCV helps elect a candidate that better reflects the support of a majority of voters. When used as a form of fair representation voting to elect more than one candidate like a city council, state legislature or even Congress, RCV helps to more fairly represent the full spectrum of voters.