The synopsis of the Illinois House’s Ranked Choice Voting bills (SB1785/HB2416) are “Provides that members of the General Assembly and the offices Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer shall be elected by ranked-choice voting”.
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is an alternative to the current winner take all voting system. It eliminates the so called “spoiler effect” when there are more than two political parties’ and independent candidates running in a general election.
RCV does this by letting you rank your choices. For example, if Illinois had RCV for the 2020 presidential election and your order of preference was Howie Hawkins (G), Joe Biden (D), Jo Jorgensen (L), and Donald Trump (R), then you could have ranked your choices giving Hawkins a 1, Biden a 2, Jorgensen a 3, etc. If you didn’t want to rank Jorgensen or Trump for example, you could leave their ranks blank.
When the votes are counted, if a candidate gets more than 50% of the number 1 ranked votes, that candidate wins. Else, the number 2 ranked votes are added to the candidates totals. If no candidate still has more than 50% of the vote, then the number 3 ranked votes are added to the candidates totals. This is repeated until a candidate gets more than 50% of the vote.
RCV creates less negative campaigning because it encourage collaboration and coalition building rather than divisiveness, restoring civility to political discourse. For example, Greens could then advocate that Democrats rank their candidate second and, in turn, Democrats could then advocate that Greens rank their candidate second. There would no longer be a need for major party supporters to attempt to vote shame third party voters into voting for the “lesser of two evils”.
RCV is a nonpartisan reform that creates a better democracy for everyone.
RCV is gaining momentum across the country, which is making it easier to campaign for its implementation. Illinois should adopt it so we can be sure the candidates that win truly have broad support.
More than 15 US cities now use RCV, the largest being San Francisco. The state of Maine uses RCV including for their presidential election. RCV is gaining momentum across the country.
The Illinois Green Party (ILGP) supports RCV. RCV has been a plank in the ILGP platform for decades.
For more information on RCV go to fairvote.org.
The ILGP also supports many other election reforms such as equal ballot access for all political parties’ and independent candidates, publicly financed elections, inclusion of all candidates on the ballot in debates and media coverage, and independently drawn districts.
The ILGP recommends the following improvements to the bill:
1) The bill states “These offices shall only be elected by ranked-choice voting during a general or special election, and not during a primary, consolidated primary, or similar election.”
The ILGP recommends that RCV be used for all elections, including primary elections.
2) The bill states “The number of allowable rankings may be limited to no fewer than 6”.
There should not be a minimum number of candidates that can be ranked using RCV. If more than two candidates are on the ballot, all candidates should be chosen via RCV.
The ILGP recommends that “The number of allowable rankings may be limited to no fewer than 6” be struck from the bill.
The Illinois Green Party urges the Illinois House to pass HB2416 with the above recommended improvements.