March 16, 2019

RANKING THE RANK:

WILL THE 'LIVE FREE OR DIE' STATE USHER IN RANKED-CHOICE VOTING? (Nick Fouriezos, MAR 13 2019, OZY)

In just the first two months of 2019, 17 states have introduced legislation to create some sort of ranked-choice system, which, as in other nations like Australia and Ireland, allow voters to rank candidates in order of preference and count those second and third choices -- until one candidate receives a majority of the vote. In all, 19 states have some form of ranked-choice voting in place. The process eliminates expensive run-off elections, where turnout is often dismal, and most experts believe it is crafted to better reflect the will of the majority. Democrats in the crucial first caucus state, Iowa, have announced plans to use ranked-choice voting in 2020 as part of a "virtual caucus" to combat criticisms of accessibility during the 2016 election.

Of the states left still considering these laws, New Hampshire will reign as by far the most important -- due to its potential kingmaking status in the already-crowded Democratic primary. No presidential candidate has won the nomination of either major party without placing in the top two in New Hampshire since 1972.

Advocates like Read worry an electoral crisis is pending in New Hampshire and other states if they don't switch to ranked-choice. Candidates need at least 15 percent of the total vote to receive state delegates, and there could be 20 or more Democrats splitting the vote next February. That means a very possible scenario where the front-runner ends up with, say, 20 percent of the vote, says Read, and secures all delegates without having won even close to a majority of votes. An alternative, equally bad scenario? "None of the candidates reach the 15 percent threshold at all," says Read, laying it out. "In that case, nobody gets delegates." The Republican side came close to that situation in 2016, when Donald Trump won the state with just 35 percent of the vote, while the next four candidates split 50 percent among them.



Posted by at March 16, 2019 12:00 AM

  

« SPEAKING OF TRUMPBOTS: | Main | WHEN YOUR INITIAL GOAL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LIBERTY: »