Ranked Choice Voting by Erne Lewis
Moderator's Note: Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) discussed in other posts is a special case of Ranked Choice Voting. The example cited below is IRV. Lewis' post describes how IRV works. If the reader is wants more information, see The Center for Voting and Democracy.
While Lewis does not state this, he seems to be recommending this for consideration by the Pierce County Charter Review Commission.
Tired of voting for the better of two bad choices? There is a solution. Ranked Choice Voting is being used in lots of places, and voters love it.
Here is how it works:
When you vote you choose from among all the candidates your first choice, the person you really believe is best, even if he or she has little chance of winning.
You then choose the candidate who would be your second choice, and then your third choice, and so on, if you wish, including of course, that politically strong candidate that you don’t want, but would prefer over that other creep who might actually win if you don’t help defeat him.
When the votes are counted, assuming there were several candidates, if someone doesn’t win more than 50% of the first choice votes then the candidate with the fewest first choice votes is eliminated and the votes are counted again.
If there isn’t a winner the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the process is repeated until only a few candidates—maybe only 2 or 3 or 4— remain, and someone has more than 50% of the total votes counted.
The winner will be first choice for many and second choice for others and perhaps third or fourth or even fifth choice for a lot of voters. But that winner will be someone who can truly say he has the most support and the most genuine support of all the candidates who ran.
The beauty of the system is that it allows people to vote for the person they really want as their first choice without fear that their vote will cause their worst choice to win. More important, they may truly expect that sometimes their underdog candidate—the person lots of people hoped could win, and wanted to win but couldn’t vote for because he or she just didn’t stand a chance—will win.
It’s a system that tears away the power politics and lets voters select the candidates that they really want.
It could even be used to replace the primary. We could go directly to the general elections without the cost and bother of the primary. If the political parties want to endorse one or more candidates that cost would not be borne by the taxpayers.
Erne Lewis, Gig Harbor