Ranked choice voting can break gridlock

Updated 2/27/2021 1:03 PM

If you'd like less partisan gridlock, there's something you can do, i.e., work to change how we vote to ranked choice voting. It's a way to reduce the power of the political parties to pick candidates and give it back to the voters.

George Washington and other Founding Fathers were wary of the influence of political parties and a recent analysis by Michael Porter, an internationally known economist, found that the political parties don't compete but primarily operate to pursue their own interests, not those of the country.


Ranked choice voting isn't a new idea. It's now used in Alaska, Maine and Washington state and in more than 20 U.S. cities.

Here's how it works. Each voter ranks the candidates in their parties' primary election and the five top vote-getters all appear on the general election ballot. When the votes are counted, if a candidate gets 50% of the votes they're the winner. If no one gets 50% in the first round, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is dropped and their votes for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th choices are reallocated to the remaining candidates. If in the next round, a candidate gets 50% of the votes, they are declared winner, if not, the process is repeated until a candidate gets to 50%.

Ranked choice voting has a number of important advantages over the way we vote today, including, Higher voter turnout. All voters become important, so candidates need to compete for larger groups of voters.

Fewer false negative attacks. They become a liability and campaigns become more civil.

Lower costs. It's necessary to hold only one election, never a need for runoff.

If this sounds like a good idea, you should check out what they are doing at FairVoteIllinois.org and if you like what you see, you can do your part.

Willard Bishop

Barrington Hills

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