Wasted votes are one more reason for Ranked Choice Voting

Published on March 2, 2020


Contact: Jeanne Massey, Executive Director, FairVote Minnesota; (612) 850-6897‬; jeanne.massey@fairvotemn.org

In the wake of three major presidential candidates dropping out on the eve of Super Tuesday, voters and advocates for election reform call for Ranked Choice Voting in presidential primary elections.

Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer announced they were dropping out of the presidential race, just hours before voters go to the polls on Super Tuesday. Millions of voters in those states, including here in Minnesota, have already cast their ballots through early voting, and many of those votes may not be counted because their preferred candidate dropped out of the race. It doesn’t need to be this way! 

In this critical primary, millions of early votes will be wasted because voters only got one choice. There is another way, and that way is Ranked Choice Voting. If primary voters had the option of a ranked ballot, they could have ranked multiple candidates in order of preference in case their first choice presidential candidate was not viable, or dropped out. Instead, many voters lost the opportunity to have their vote count in an election many view as one of the most consequential of their lifetimes.

“I stumped for Amy and know how many people enthusiastically voted early for her,” said MN Senator Melisa Franzen. “I’m also a sponsor of Ranked Choice Voting legislation in Minnesota. This simple change to the ballot would have given early voters the opportunity to have their second choice counted if their candidate dropped out before Super Tuesday.”

“I was going to vote for Pete Buttigieg, but when he dropped out, I voted for Amy Klobuchar,” added UMN student Corey Larson. I’m really frustrated that my vote won’t count. We know we can fix this with Ranked Choice Voting, and I wish I had that option.” 

All votes should be counted and all voters should have a voice. Ranked Choice Voting is the most effective way to ensure that votes are not wasted while also giving voters more choice. 

“So many of my friends voted early for candidates who are no longer in the race. It’s literally unbelievable that their votes will be not be counted, said Minneapolis voter Mike Griffin. “We need Ranked Choice Voting to create a stronger democracy where all votes matter.”

“This presidential primary has demonstrated the existential need for this election reform. When so much is at stake, voters should know that their vote matters, and ultimately, that the process will deliver a candidate with broad majority support,” said FairVote Minnesota executive director Jeanne Massey. “Ranked Choice Voting would ensure this.”

“Minnesota has an enviable tradition of good governance, government reform, fairness and innovation,” explained Rep. Dean Phillips and Minnesota business leaders in a recent Star Tribune op-ed that urged adoption of Ranked Choice Voting for presidential primaries. “When we see that our political structures aren’t working, we change them.”

Learn more about Ranked Choice Voting at https://fairvotemn.org.

550 Vandalia St. #210

St. Paul, MN 55114

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