The Revolution We Need: Ranked-Choice Voting
The Revolution We Need: Ranked-Choice Voting
To Joe Biden and the Leadership of the Democratic Party
OUR DEMOCRACY IS IN CRISIS. Politics is dividing Americans against each other; it is ripping our nation apart. Tribalism has come to define every choice we face, it fuels disrespect across and within communities and it prevents us from making commonsense policies for our futures and our children. In 2016 this division allowed our greatest foreign adversary to pit Americans against Americans in order to influence the presidential election. Now it threatens American democracy itself. We have become our own worst enemy; our division has made us weak.
THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM IS THE PROBLEM. The Founding Fathers warned us that partisanship would threaten our democracy. Limiting our options to the two major parties does not just foster incivility, it reduces turn-out, inhibits moderation, paralyzes policymaking and prevents voters from holding either party truly accountable. Most important, the two-party system is depriving us of our most fundamental right as Americans, the right to genuinely choose our leaders.
IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY. Elections can strengthen our democracy if they are truly competitive, allow voters to vote sincerely for the representatives they want, and hold their preferred party accountable when necessary.
We need political competition that doesn’t force an “us vs. them” choice at the polls. We need elections that allow voters on the right to hold politicians accountable without voting for a party on the left; we need elections that allow voters on the left to hold politicians accountable without voting for the right.
WE NEED “RANKED-CHOICE” VOTING. Under Ranked-Choice voting voters can vote for a third party candidate without wasting their votes. We still elect only one candidate to each office but we can mark our first, second, and third choice preferences for each office. If a candidate wins a majority of the vote when the “first-preference” votes are counted he or she is elected just like they would be in the Plurality system we use today. But if no candidate wins a majority then the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated and those votes are given to the candidates their supporters listed as their second choice. This is repeated until one candidate receives an absolute majority of votes, and a genuine mandate.
Ranked-Choice voting does the three things necessary to bring this country together around the big changes and commonsense solutions we need. First, it allows voters on both sides to hold the major parties accountable because they can vote for third parties that are similar to their traditional party, confident that if their first choice doesn’t win their vote will transfer and not be wasted. Second, Ranked-Choice encourages politicians to recognize what they have in common with candidates from parties close to them ideologically, changing the tone of campaigns to be more positive and more issue-focused. Third, Ranked-Choice voters communicate with whoever wins the election with their actual votes, letting the winning party know just how many of its ultimate supporters would have preferred candidates that proposed a slightly different set of policies.
Many states already use Ranked Choice for local elections and Maine began using it in 2018 for federal and state offices. We don’t need a constitutional amendment or Congressional action. We are not asking that you impose Ranked-Choice on any state that doesn't want it, but we are asking you to lead a national campaign to inform voters that there is a better way to elect their representatives - one that is more democratic, more representative, more responsive, and more accountable.
We can use Ranked-Choice for state-level elections, both houses of Congress and even the Electoral College that elects the president. The only federal legislation that governs elections in this country is that each district must be represented by only one representative. The states decide how we elect representatives but we need to do this all together - and WE NEED NATIONAL LEADERSHIP.
The Democratic Party asked voters who do not agree with its policies to put their self interest aside to save the soul of this nation, and many of us supported you in this fight. But don't forgot what made it necessary to battle for our soul - our democracy has failed us. Now is the time for the Democratic Party to put country before party and lead the revolution we need. Bring us together behind the one essential thing that makes us Americans – the right to choose our leaders.
Voters who sign this petition are asking the leadership of the DEMOCRATIC PARTY to have the courage of their convictions: MAKE THIS COUNTRY MORE DEMOCRATIC - usher in the end of the two party system that divides Americans against each other, ADVOCATE FOR AND ADOPT RANKED-CHOICE VOTING within the Party - and in every state legislature where the Party holds power, bring it to the voters to decide.
Our most sacred right as Americans is the right to choose our leaders with the vote. The current Plurality system does not allow us to elect the leaders we truly want, and it does not allow us to hold our representatives accountable. Plurality elections also make it difficult if not impossible for politicians from opposing parties to work together to enact the policy changes we need. Ranked-Choice is a better system; it allows us to vote for the candidates we like best and hold politicians accountable without voting for the “other” party. Ranked Choice is also more consistent with American values because it fosters real competition and guarantees that the winning candidate will have the majority support he or she needs.
In signing this petition, WE STAND TOGETHER, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens and the increasing number of independent voters who reject a party label to take our democracy back from the divisiveness that the two-party system creates.
We recognize that there are many issues that we, as a nation and as individual states, need to fix. But we cannot make the changes we need the most if we can’t work together. FIX DEMOCRACY FIRST.