Thursday, September 15, 2016

Third-Party Candidates Don’t Have to Be Spoilers

An alternative ballot system used in some local elections allows votes to be shifted to another choice if the first choice doesn’t win.
When Ralph Nader siphoned 2.7% of the popular vote as a third-party presidential candidate in 2000, he provoked an ongoing debate about whether he cost Al Gore the election.
But here’s a convenient truth: Voting doesn’t have to work like that.
An alternative system allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. If no first-choice candidate captures the majority of votes, the candidate receiving the fewest is eliminated and the votes are transferred to the second choice marked on the ballot.
If a winner emerges, it’s over. If not, the process repeats. The weakest candidates are jettisoned in successive rounds until someone wins the election by a majority of votes.
“The Iowa caucuses are almost exactly the same,” said Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote, a nonprofit organization that promotes ranked-choice voting.
The process may sound radical, but it isn’t new. Ireland and Australia have used ranked-choice voting for decades. Ten U.S. cities use ranked-choice voting in local elections. And this fall, voters in Maine will decide whether to adopt the approach for statewide elections.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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