Letter to the Editor | Support ranked choice voting

Letter to the Editor | Support ranked choice voting

To date, 18 candidates have qualified for the first Democratic presidential debate. This is a lot — and a diverse range of choices for voters is a good thing. Unfortunately, a big field means a candidate can win with a small vote share.

When lots of candidates are in a race, they split the electorate, meaning a candidate with less than 50 percent of the vote has a chance of winning. Sometimes as low as 20 percent to 30 percent can win.

This often encourages a fight to the bottom that rewards more extreme and polarizing candidates.

Just take a look at the Republican 2016 presidential primary race.

Ranked choice voting (RCV) can fix this. RCV is a system where voters rank candidates in order of preference. Votes are counted in runoff rounds. Each round checks to see if a candidate has majority support, more than 50 percent of the vote. If no candidate has majority support, the last place candidate is eliminated and their votes are distributed to the voters' second choices.

These rounds continue until one candidate has a majority. This all happens without the need for additional runoff elections.

This system ensures that victors have a broad base of support — and it reduces the likelihood that an extreme candidate will win.

Illinois Democrats should work to implement ranked choice voting for the Democratic presidential primary to ensure that they choose the candidate that best represents the will of the majority in the general election.