Elections have consequences. This year voters across the country exercised their power to make democracy better, an achievement we can all celebrate. In several states and cities across the country, election reform was on the ballot, and it won. In Virginia, for example, voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of an independent redistricting commission to end gerrymandering.
Elsewhere, voters came together across party lines to support a new way of holding elections that encourages competition, fairness, and choice. Boulder, Colorado enacted Ranked-Choice Voting for future city elections, as did Bloomington and Minnetonka, Minnesota. RCV allows voters to rank their preferences on the ballot, and redistributes their vote to their second choice if their top candidate fails to win. It’s a way of voting that gives voters more choices and power while incentivizing leaders to build on common ground and find solutions with their opponents.
But the biggest win of 2020’s electoral reform victory happened in Alaska, where Ranked-Choice Voting will now be standard in all elections. Alaska will join Maine as only the second state in America to use RCV in presidential elections beginning in 2024. Not only that, but Alaskans will now also have open primaries, giving voters a greater say over who is on their ballot in November. Alaska’s open primary will allow everyone to vote on all the primary candidates, rather than limiting choices to party loyalists.
Elections often get reduced to simple choices between people. But it’s crucial to remember that ballot initiatives and referenda can sometimes have a more lasting effect on our republic. That’s especially true in the case of electoral reform measures. Whenever we improve how we conduct our votes, we’re strengthening our democracy and protecting our liberty.
The successes in Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota and Virginia should be celebrated. But they should also be replicated in cities and states across the country. American democracy won big this election, and it’ll power us forward for even bigger victories in the elections to come.
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