New York Times: Election Problems, And Solutions

Published on October 18, 2020

Alex Counts in The New York Times:

Re “Presidentially, Two Parties Is Plenty” (column, Sept. 17):

While I share many of Gail Collins’s views about policy and politics, and enjoy her columns, I cannot support her assertion that we would be better off without third parties. Who besides the two major parties benefits by restricting voter choice? Almost no one.

In fact, it is a major factor leading tens of millions of Americans not to cast votes at all. Fortunately, there is a better way.

Ranked-choice voting allows citizens to indicate their first choice as well as other candidates in order of preference. If their top candidate is from a third party and does not achieve a minimum viability threshold, their vote goes to their second choice. The risk of candidates being “spoilers” and voters “wasting their votes” disappears, while allowing everyone to signal who they believe to be the best suited for a given office.

This common-sense approach is being used in a growing number of localities across the country, and there is no reason it shouldn’t be how we conduct future presidential elections.

Alex Counts
Hyattsville, Md.
The writer is a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland College Park

550 Vandalia St. #210

St. Paul, MN 55114

(763) 807-2550

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