Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) provides a huge incentive for candidates to campaign positively on ideas and positions that matter to voters.
In an RCV race, candidates will likely need second-choice votes from their opponent’s supporters, so they’re compelled to find common ground – and focus on their own ideas, experience, and accomplishments. Candidates behave differently knowing that being someone’s second choice is a tangible benefit. And we believe that positive, issue-based campaigns may help curb the growing cynicism keeping many voters from the polls today.
Once in office, a winner who has built a broad coalition of support can more easily reach beyond the aisle to forge compromises and build consensus around critical issues facing their communities and states. In an era of hyper-partisanship and divisive politics, RCV is a key response to our nation’s growing polarization and a proven way to encourage coalition building.
Dividing and attacking may be an effective strategy under the current system, when there are only two candidates or if you just need to convince enough voters that your opponent is contemptible. In those situations, candidates can win votes by driving up opponents’ negatives, thereby persuading voters to vote against the opponent instead of for the candidate.
Nationally respected political commentators, including New Yorker editor Hendrik Hertzberg and Stanford political scientist Larry Diamond – along with nationally respected media outlets like the Boston Globe, Bloomberg View, the Nation, the Economist, American Prospect, the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press – have made the case that Ranked Choice Voting would dramatically improve the presidential election process. In a 2016 speech in Minnesota, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said that RCV is at the top of his reform list, underscoring the need to offer voters more choice and to mitigate growing extremism.