Ranked Choice Voting

By Adam Friedman 

As the nation was thrown into a tailspin with the upset victory of Donald Trump, Maine provided a glimmer of hope for our fragile democracy. Voters there passed Question 5, making Maine the first state in US history to institute ranked-choice voting (RCV) for all federal and state elections.

Why does ranked-choice voting matter? Because our current voting system is rigged against anyone who isn’t a Democrat or a Republican, and RCV is arguably the best way to break this duopoly. Ranked-choice voting allows you to rank your candidates in the order you prefer them -- 1, 2, 3 -- and would allow to vote your true values, say by ranking Gary Johnson as your first choice, and then the more tolerable major-party candidate as your second choice. If your first choice gets eliminated in an instant runoff round, your vote transfers to your second choice. You can even rank as many candidates as there are running, and express your preference thoroughly and honestly. The fear of the “spoiler candidate” is a thing of the past. This means more votes, more legitimacy, and more power for Libertarians.

How do we advance ranked-choice voting in our state? After the Maine victory, advocates put out a call for a strategy meeting and over 50 people attended. Participants ranged across the entire political spectrum, but agreed on one thing: we deserve a better voting system. They formed Voter Choice Massachusetts, and since November, their membership has quadrupled and they have over 60 active members coordinating actions almost daily. They are currently signing up new volunteers at events around the state, raising funds for a statewide poll to help craft a winning political strategy, writing reports for publication, and several other activities. They can use your help. Get involved by visiting http://voterchoicema.org/signup or by emailing Scott Kallgren, new members coordinator, at scott@voterchoicema.org.

Editor’s note: Voter Choice Massachusetts has organized itself as a 501 C(3), which means that donations are tax deductible. Donations to LAMA are not tax deductible, so if you would like to support this worthy cause, please do so directly and let them know their support is coming from a Libertarian.

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