By ANDY VARGAS | July 17, 2019
During the summer of 2002, Sen. John McCain delivered a recorded phone message to the citizens of Alaska, asking them to adopt “instant runoff voting that will lead to good government because Alaska will elect leaders who have the support of a majority of voters.” The senator was one of the earliest supporters of ranked-choice voting (RCV). It’s 17 years later and we now have plenty of case studies and growing support for this democractic reform. That’s why we filed H719, An Act relative to ranked choice voting, which earned 65 cosponsors in the Legislature. H719 would bring RCV to elections for all state offices, for both primary and general elections.
Far too often, we see candidates elected at all levels of government with less than 50 percent of the vote. Under our current first past the post system, a candidate only needs more votes than the rest of their opponents to win an election. Thus, a candidate can be elected to office without the support of the majority of their constituents. Most voters have encountered this at least once in their civic life — a race where a wide field of candidates split the vote and one wins with 25 percent of the vote, for example.