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'One of the Best Reforms We Can Make' to Improve Democracy: Ranked Choice Voting on the Ballot in Massachusetts

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/09/one-best-reforms-we-can-make-improve-democracy-ranked-choice-voting-ballot


Kudos to the citizens who’ve initiated this measure. It is truly one of the most important reforms needed to make ours a more democratic nation. If Democrats actually believe what they say about supporting democracy, maybe some of its leadership will endorse this measure. If not, maybe their silence will expose their hypocrisy.


i wish i had more faith in ‘democracy’. independent investigators like greg palin have long documented how elections can be and are rigged, by tactics such as voter suppression, a long time favorite of the GOP. still, RCV is obviously a great idea. i wonder how the green party would do in national elections in america if it was in effect. it would certainly help if radical progressives didn’t feel compelled to vote for the lesser evil that stands a chance of winning.

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Ranked Choice Voting (or more accurately, Instant Runoff Voting) is surely an improvement over plurality voting, but almost any other voting system would be as well. But are there better alternatives?

Well, it depends on what you want to accomplish. If you are satisfied with retaining the polarized two-party duopoly but you want to make it work better by avoiding the possibility of a minor party invading the election and throwing an election to the least popular of the two candidates from the major parties then you should be happy with ranked-choice voting. But if you actually want to disrupt the two-party duopoly there are better alternatives among the balanced voting systems.

Unfortunately on this web site, links to other sites are not permitted, but you can find an extensive series of articles on balanced voting at OpEdNews.

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Using your key terms, I’ve located several interesting discussions of balanced voting systems, Thank you very much!!

The balanced version of plurality voting (most common form voting in U.S.) still limits a voter to expressing an opinion about just one candidate, but the voter may express either support or opposition to that candidate. Under this balanced plurality voting system, the winner is the candidate with the largest net number of votes. That net is calculated by subtracting the votes in opposition to the candidate from the votes in favor.

I think I’m even more intrigued by the balanced approval voting system.

In simple Approval voting a voter is not restricted to choosing a single candidate but instead may cast affirmative ballots for as many different people they could support in each office. In the balanced version of approval voting, the voter is allowed to specify either support or opposition — but this time they mark support or oppose next to as many names as they choose. A typical voter may decide to indicate support for a few candidates, opposition to several others but indicate no preference for the rest. And the winner, as before, is the candidate with the largest number of positive votes after all the negative votes are subtracted.

Thank you very much for alerting me to novel alternatives I was not aware of!!

I’m sure you meant Greg “Palast”. He’s doing great work.