Dianna Lieffring in the Grand Rapids Herald Review:
Who doesn’t feel the gaping division between all of us?
We can remedy (and prevent) this state of hurtful affairs by understanding and pursuing the process of ranked-choice voting.
Right now, the candidate with the most votes wins…WHETHER OR NOT they have 50% or more of the votes. In our system, a person with only 35% of the votes could win, disenfranchising 65% of the community of voters! If that isn’t divisive, I don’t know what is.
With ranked-choice voting, you order or rank your preferred candidates from favorite to less favorable, but acceptable. This gives your vote more freedom and power. And, it will ensure that the winner gets 50% or more of all votes. This is community uniting.
Here’s how. In a four-way race, for example, results of first choice vote tallies could be 40%, 25%, 20% and 15%. Currently, the candidate with 40% wins. In ranked-choice voting, the process does not end here. The 15% candidate loses, BUT the second choice on each of those losing ballots are added up and put into the current totals. This process continues until someone has 50% or more of the votes.
How does this change our voting practices and campaigning?
More candidates of all genders may participate since vote-splitting is no longer an issue by entering into the race.
Centrist candidates may win more often since extreme candidates have narrower followings.
Negativity will lessen since dirt-finding is costly and time-consuming with more in the running.
Negativity will lessen because candidates want to fight for at least a second choice or third choice vote to arrive at a 50% position.
The first step I am taking to heal our division is to vote for Rita Albrecht who stands strong for ranked-choice voting.