The validity of the democratic process in a democracy depends on how we choose to elect our representatives. There are shortcomings and problems with the majority of the world’s voting systems, which have prompted calls for electoral reform in many nations. Ranked choice voting is one idea that has garnered traction in recent years (RCV).
Instead of choosing one candidate, rank choice voting allows voters to rank candidates according to their preferences. Then all the first candidate votes are combined to get the final vote count. If no candidate receives a clear majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and a second preference vote is added to the total number of remaining candidates. The cycle is then repeated until a clear majority is achieved by a candidate .
Pros of Ranked Choice Voting
One of the main advantages of ranked choice voting is that it allows voters to express their true preferences, free of strategic voting. This means that voters can vote for their favourite candidate without the fear of their vote being wasted. In a traditional election system, voters might be tempted to vote for a more “viable” candidate to avoid wasting their vote, leading to an outcome that doesn’t truly represent their preferences.
Another advantage of ranked choice voting is that it promotes civility and coalition building. Candidates have to appeal to a broader base of voters to be elected, as they need to be more than just their supporters’ first preference. This can lead to more constructive and less divisive campaigns and a more collaborative approach to governance.
Cons of Ranked Choice Voting
One of the challenges with ranked choice voting is the complexity of the system, which may lead to confusion among some voters. There are concerns that voters who are unfamiliar with the system may not understand how to rank candidates properly, leading to their vote not being counted as they intended.
Another concern is the possibility of vote manipulation, where candidates may attempt to game the system by encouraging their supporters to rank another candidate who they know would be eliminated early, leading to their votes being transferred to the candidate they actually support.
Is Ranked Choice Voting the Way Forward?
Despite the challenges, many experts argue that ranked choice voting is a better alternative to the traditional electoral system, as it provides a more accurate representation of voters’ preferences and encourages greater civility and collaboration among elected officials. With several countries adopting the system in recent years, including Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand, it’s worth considering whether this approach could benefit democracies worldwide.
As a result of many experts praising its advantages, ranked choice voting has become a popular electoral system in recent years. Even though it has its drawbacks, many people think it is a preferable alternative to the current election system since it more accurately reflects voter preferences and promotes cooperation and civility among elected leaders. Although it is unclear whether more nations will use this voting method, it is unquestionably something to think about as a strategy to improve democratic representation.