The only part of this November’s election that I am looking forward to is the chance to vote in favor of ranked choice voting (RCV). As a low-cost, efficient election procedure to guarantee one winner from a field of three or more candidates, I see no preferable alternative.
A run-off is expensive for any town or state to mount the voting booths, call back the clerks, and do all the bookkeeping for another election. Why not allow us to prioritize our preferences first time up at the voting booth? It spares us the trouble of coming again and again to do what we have just done. Few people vote anyway. Each time we have to repeat it, the electorate diminishes.
Others worry about a possible infringement of their right to vote for their favorite candidate. In the usual multi-candidate election for one office, most of us have a strong preference for one contender, but deem one or more others acceptable. If such an election results in a run-off, the election clerks have to do the same redistribution of votes that we could do ourselves in an RCV election. So what are we losing?
Among many other advantages, RCV can go far to discourage the coarse, vulgar negative campaigning we’ve been enduring for several years, and with it, the extraordinary wealth that fuels such nastiness in order to bully us into someone else’s preference for leadership.
The vote is not a privilege of the rich. It is the inalienable right of every American citizen, of whatever income, even if none. Let us keep the right of the vote for the American Everyman, Everywoman. Let us rank the choices presented to us at the voting booth numerically, from our own opinions of who is best or worst, proudly place our ballot in the box, and go on our way for the remaining hours of November 8, whistling.