Politics Ranked-choice voting is an abomination
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The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is going to beon whether Maine will move forward with ranked choice voting in November or if it will need to face a voter referendum following a signature drive. Whether it survives or not, it should be made clear: ranked choice voting is an abomination.
The premise of ranked choice voting is to allow voters to support parties outside of Democrats or Republicans without “wasting” their vote. If you want to vote for the Green Party candidate you can do that, but if they finish last then your back-up vote can be counted for the Democratic candidate. It’s also premised on forcing candidates to win a majority, rather than a plurality, of votes cast in their race.
They're at high risk of the coronavirus. But their state might not let them vote by mail.
"Voting in person is exactly a situation we've been trying to avoid since March. It's what we've been advised to avoid by doctors at all levels," one woman said.While many people can return to some semblance of routine if they wear masks and follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Harwell, 45, and her family must remain vigilant inside their home in Jackson. Every member of her household, except her husband, has a pre-existing condition that puts them at additional risk of death if they are infected by the coronavirus.
But ranked choice voting is a failure on its own terms. Instead of allowing smaller parties to garner more support, it encourages voters to still funnel their votes to one of the major parties. In Maine, for example, a Green Party voter is encouraged to throw a back-up vote to Sara Gideon, the Democratic challenger to Susan Collins. Since the Green Party will never win a notable state-wide election, all ranked choice voting accomplishes in this scenario is another vote in the bucket for Democrats in a crucial Senate race.
While support for ranked choice voting is more prevalent among Democrats, the same would apply for Republicans looking to bleed votes from the Libertarian or Constitution Party without being their primary option. The two major parties should be trying to win over voters, not get rewarded for being their second (or third) option.
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More importantly, ranked choice voting violates the principle of “one person, one vote” and punishes voters who support a candidate rather than oppose one. To use the Maine example again, a Susan Collins supporter would be using their vote for Collins. Someone who simply wants Collins defeated could end up using their vote for Green candidate Lisa Savage and then for Gideon.
In 2018, Maine congressman Bruce Poliquindespite winning 46.3% of the vote because of back-up votes for his opponent Jared Golden. A single vote for Poliquin was the most common ranking in that race.
There are plenty of odd election methods, from top-two run-offs to jungle primaries, but ranked choice voting is a terrible idea in theory and in practice. Voters should not be given multiple votes counted in the same race, and our political parties should not be rewarded for being voters' second or third choice.
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