Great news out of New York City! Thanks to the efforts of electoral reform advocates in New York, ranked choice voting (RCV) will be on the ballot in the city this November.
Now, the power is in the hands of the people as New York voters will get the opportunity to decide whether they want to use RCV in their elections.
The fight isn’t over though. If we want RCV to succeed, we need to educate and motivate voters there and across the country. Help us improve America’s elections through RCV and other crucial reforms.
What is ranked-choice voting and why is it better than our current system? RCV is already in use in several American cities and across the state of Maine. With RCV, voters rank their favorite candidates in order of preference. If no one gets more than 50% of the “number 1” votes outright, the lowest candidates are dropped, and their votes are reallocated to the “number 2” choices. That continues until one candidate has more than 50% of the vote and is declared the winner. This type of voting is also known as instant runoff.
Why does RCV matter? Perhaps most importantly, RCV incentivizes unifying and inclusive campaigns. Candidates know that it isn’t enough to just win the support of their base. Instead, they need to make sure they have the support of other voters who might rank them second or even third. That means successful candidates will work to earn the support of broader groups of Americans, encouraging more unifying, fact-based leadership in our politics. In these times of division and animosity, that’s a change we badly need.
It also empowers us as voters to more fully express our preferences. Too often people feel pressured to vote not for the best candidate, but for the lesser of two evils. RCV makes it possible to vote your conscience and still have a say, even if your favorite candidate might not win.
We talk a lot about what threatens American democracy, but we must also focus on strengthening our democracy. One of the best ways to better our republic is by reforming our electoral systems with measures like ranked choice voting.
By putting RCV on the ballot in New York City, we have an opportunity to showcase this innovation in some of the most visible elections in the country. But if we want this important reform to catch on across the country, we have to keep fighting for it.