Election reform comes through ranked choice voting

By John Schussler
Rank My Vote Florida (rankmyvoteflorida.org)

The way we elect our political leaders is deeply flawed, giving us scorched-earth politics and gridlocked government. Federal and state legislature approval ratings hover between 10% and 30%. At the same time, incumbents win about 90% of elections. They only need to get one more vote than anyone else.

Incumbent congressmen choose their voters by gerrymandering voting districts so their party will win the general election. Incumbent congressmen are worried only about being challenged in their closed primary elections, so they appeal to the extreme elements of their party, who make up the core of their party’s closed-primary voters. Then, after the incumbents wins their primary election, they change their campaign speeches to appeal to more centrist voters in the general election. After they win in the general election, they go back to being primarily worried that candidates more extreme than they are will challenge them in their party’s closed primary elections.

After general elections, Left and Right political parties first try to purge their in-group moderates. Some congressmen fear they will be criticized as disloyal if they compromise on legislation with congressmen of the other political party, so they vote party-line in Congress regardless of the merit of the proposed legislation. They support whatever the other party opposes and oppose whatever the other party supports, even if the proposed legislation is the same. Our two-party system is not working for the voters.

The news media report on politics in the same manner that they report on sporting events. They focus on the fighting between the two “teams.” Party loyalists and elected officials discuss politics that same way: us vs them, good vs bad, party/team loyalty, zero sum game, winner take all.

Currently, you can choose only one candidate. If your favorite isn’t the clear front-runner, you could waste your vote by picking that person, helping elect someone with whom you really disagree.

One simple change called ranked choice voting gives more power to voters. You rank the candidates: Your favorite is your first choice; your next preference your second choice; etc. If your favorite is eliminated, your ballot counts for your next choice. You don’t throw away your vote.

With ranked choice voting, the following happens:

•  Multiple candidates can run without being “spoilers” who split votes away from similar candidates, causing both to lose.

•  People get more choices; politicians get healthy competition.

•  Candidates need to win broader support of a majority of voters, not just a narrow, passionate base. To do this, they must earn second or third rankings from their opponents’ supporters and avoid toxic mudslinging, which would alienate them.

Please  join Rank My Vote Florida in spreading the word about ranked choice voting in Florida to get our government aligned with the voters’ needs.


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