I never would have passed a college exam if I only scored a 17 percent. Yet, 17 percent of the vote in the first election round was enough for Lori Lightfoot to ultimately become Chicago’s mayor. In a supposedly democratic society, how can a candidate win with so few votes? It’s a far too common occurrence.
There is a solution, though: Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).
RCV allows voters to select a first-choice, second-choice and third-choice candidate. First-choice votes are totaled; if no one has a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Normally, if you vote for a candidate who loses, you “wasted” your vote. With RCV, however, if your first pick is eliminated because they received the fewest votes, your vote then transfers to your second-choice candidate. The votes are calculated again, and the entire process repeats until a candidate has over 50 percent of the votes.
RCV is a common-sense reform that politicians of every stripe should embrace. It would make campaigns more civil, because candidates will seek the second-choice vote of their opponents’ strongest supporters.
Also, RCV can save taxpayer dollars by preventing multiple election rounds, like Chicago currently has. Most importantly, RCV ensures the candidate with the broadest overall approval based on rankings — not just the “highest” percentage of votes — wins.
If you believe elections need to be more democratic, please join me in calling on State Sen. Scott Bennett to support RCV in Illinois.