Proposal: A fairer way of voting


An NBC/WSJ poll in 2019 reported that almost 40% of the country wants a third major political party. Many feel unrepresented in the political establishment and look for parties such as the Green, Libertarian, or Constitution Party to support. However, 2016 Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson only got 3.27% of the popular vote. Why is this?
Voters often feel obligated to vote ‘down the ticket’. For example, a common fear expressed among democrats is that voting third-party would split the vote. The famous slogans ‘vote blue no matter who’ or ‘vote red or we’re dead’ populate the Internet, as well. Using previous low third-party numbers as proof, the ‘vote blue’ crowd commonly says that third-party candidates have no chance of winning.
Paradoxically, voters want to choose a third-party candidate, often backing out only because the third party candidate appears unviable in our current voting system. Due to low turnouts for alternate candidates, voters want a viable third party to break the hegemony. The cycle continues.
The answer? Voting reform. One solution is Ranked Choice Voting. With ranked voting, one ranks candidate (A) first, candidate (B) second, and candidate (C) third. When the votes are tallied, if no one reaches over 50% percent, votes get redistributed until there is a winner– meaning the votes cast for the lowest-ranked candidate are thrown out and their second preference is then lifted into the count. This process repeats until one candidate receives over 50% of the votes.
Ranked Choice Voting or any sort of voting system which lets voters choose multiple candidates breaks the third party paradox. Traditional Democrat or Republican voters would no longer feel pressured to vote for popular candidates just to ensure that the opposite party candidate loses. By ranking their outside preference first, they can then choose safer options as back-ups.
Ranked Choice Voting or non-traditional voting is nothing new, nor are the conflicting views on it. The state of Maine, plus Santa Fe and Minneapolis, have used this system in the past. Exit polls revealed favorable views among the voters. However, not all are on board. Simon Waxman, in a 2016 article in, says ranked voting could instill divisiveness or could render many people’s ballots useless as more candidates get eliminated.
Despite those gripes, ranked voting can still work. If voters are given more candidates, say five instead of three, the number of useless ballots will shrink. Additionally, political discordance will always exist, no matter the voting system. Smaller candidates will always try to one-up the more popular candidates to win votes.
The solution lies, somewhat ironically, at the ballot.
The question of how to implement RCV still remains.
Elect the candidates who will implement voting reform. Andrew Yang, a former Democratic candidate for President, supports RCV. Eventually, more local and national pro-RCV candidates will enter the pool. You just have to keep your eyes open.