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The Case for Using Ranked Choice Voting in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primaries

The Case for Using Ranked Choice Voting in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primaries

Adam Eichen

Sen. Bernie Sanders stands as the current frontrunner of announced candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Given his small donor fundraising capacity, ability to draw massive crowds, and impressive early polling results, the left wing of the Democratic Party has ample reason to be hopeful.

RCV should be the norm in all of our elections. With the many democrat candidates in the field, it is the only way to establish a majority vote in this primary.


Establishment politicians will fight RCV tooth and nail.

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And if it is adopted, people start working on ways to subvert it, promptly.

Exactly what do you mean by that statement? That is the ambiguous statement of a completely weak and corporate lackey.

I’d gladly trade the Electoral College for RCV

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Approval voting is simpler and more reliable that ranked choice.I refer you to electology.org. Fargo North Dakota is the first city to adopt it./


Wow, this is the third story by Adam Eichen this year (first two at the Hill, this one at In These Times). I’m not complaining though as I’m all in for RCV. I’d have preferred RCV on a single election day for the whole US, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon and it does sound like a state or two could even happen for 2020. I doubt it will be my state (CA, not a caucus state) so I will have to consider if I really want to vote for Tulsi Gabbard or not since I don’t see her getting to the 15% point. Otherwise I have no hesitation to vote for Bernie. I’m probably not in a significant set though so I’m not sure RCV will really help Bernie or not (nor is Adam sure). It’s possible that for most of the people not voting Bernie #1, their fall back is more centrist (Biden if he runs and I hope to hell he does not, or whoever is the centrist front runner). Still plenty of time for me to figure out what I’m going to do.

So what the hell happens in a primary state if nobody gets 15% of the vote?

It would absolutely not work in King Co, WA, with 17 cities parts of 14 state legislative districts and all or part of three congressional distiricts. it is important that votes be tallied accurately, and that means hand count auditing. This is impossible to do accurately with so many ways or sorting the ballots. In smaller political units, of course, it’s feasible.

In Maine we were able to get rid of a truly useless Rep in the second district via RCV. Of course he challenged the outcome and forced the elected Rep to arrive two weeks late for his first term, but so worth it! No more Electoral College. Let the people speak for themselves.


Right On, Phred!!

Get rid of the Electoral College, and the DamnocRats should toss their stupor-delegates as well.   And RCV makes sense, too — especially if a “None of the Above” option were included.  If ‘None’ wins then the election is held a second time, with None of the original candidates eligible to try again.  (Just ima­gine the result in 2016 if ‘None of the Above’ had been an option:  Shilliary 31%, Tweetle-Dumb 32%, ‘None’ 35%, and then we start over . . .

LOL - Yep. I’ve been saying that since the 90’s . If NOTA wins start over -

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Of course neither half of the Duopoly will allow it — neither major party would last another year if RCV with ‘None of the Above’ became the law.

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True - It would give 3rd Parties a foothold

Pretty nearly any system that would use actual voting of rank-and-file party members to determine the outcome would be an improvement in this case.

Ranking is not sufficiently democratic or expressive to defeat the two-party dominance. The people need a cardinal voting system for single-winner office.

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The Center For Election Science: "4. What RCV Doesn’t Do: Work In Presidential Elections

Some folks even want to use RCV in presidential elections already. This would be a terrible mistake and a logistical nightmare, with or without a national popular vote.

With the Electoral College, it’s challenging to implement any new voting method for a presidential election that doesn’t match all the other states. That’s because the discordance between states can mean that you don’t actually want electoral votes going to your favorite candidate if your favorite candidate isn’t competitive. Then, you’re not even just throwing away your vote. You’re throwing away electoral votes. And electoral votes are much more valuable.

Even under a national popular vote, RCV faces enormous technical hurdles. For one, the nature of RCV tabulation requires that all the ballot data be centralized for tabulation. This creates both security and logistical concerns. Just try getting all the raw ballot data together for all 50 states with all their individual precincts.

Realistically, you’d have to deal with holdout states still using our choose-one method, even if you had a national popular vote. But you can’t add RCV and regular choose-one ballots together. It just doesn’t work. You really realize RCV’s technical limitations when you consider the most viable approach to a national popular vote, which is through an interstate compact (though perhaps in some iteration other than its current form)."