Elections in the US are primarily decided by the first-past-the-post method. In this system voters select one candidate and whichever candidate receives the largest proportion of votes wins. When there are three or more candidates running for one office this can mean the winner has well below 50% popular support.
The first-past-the-post method forces voters to cast their ballots strategically, voting for who is perceived as the best viable candidate rather than the best candidate overall. In a first-past-the-post system, third party votes are often seen as wasted or as throwing the election to an undesirable candidate.
However, in a Ranked Choice Voting system (also called Instant Runoff Voting), voters rank candidates in order of preference. The candidate who receives the fewest first place selections is eliminated and votes cast for that candidate are transferred to voter's second choice. This process is repeated until a candidate has at least a 50%+1 majority.
A ranked choice system allows citizens to vote their conscience without risking a wasted vote or helping an undesirable candidate into office.
Ranked Choice Voting is used in many jurisdictions in the United States and around the world. On November 9, 2016, Maine became the first state to adopt Ranked Choice Voting for all state-wide elections. We believe Washington State should follow their lead!
Adopt Ranked Choice Voting in Washington State
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