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 we had RCV for the 2016 election and your order of preference was Dr. Jill Stein (G), Hillary Clinton (D), Gary Johnson (L), and Donald Trump (R), then you could have ranked your choices giving Stein a 1, Clinton a 2, Johnson a 3, etc. If you didn’t want to rank Johnson 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 campaigns 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 and easier to campaign for its implementation. Illinois should adopt it so we can be sure the candidates that win truly have broad support.
Over 100 US cities now use RCV the largest being San Francisco. The state of Maine uses RCV and will for the first time cast their presidential vote using RCV this November.
The Illinois Green Party (ILGP) supports Ranked Choice Voting along with many other election reforms such as equal ballot access for all political parties’ and independent candidates and publicly financed elections.
For more information on RCV go to fairvote.org which supports the bills.
The bills say “The number of allowable rankings may be limited to no fewer than 6”. The ILGP does not agree that there should be any limit on the number of candidates that can be ranked. However many candidates are on the ballot should be included for Ranked Choice Voting.
Identical bills were introduced to the Illinois Senate on 10/28/2019 and the Illinois House on 2/14/2020. The bills have received a first reading and have been buried in subcommittees ever since.
The Illinois Green Party urges the Illinois Legislature to support SB2267/HB5585 with the suggestion that “The number of allowable rankings may be limited to no fewer than 6” be struck from the bills.