Ranked Choice Voting gives voters more choice while eliminating the problems of “spoiler” candidates and “wasted” votes. The current system forces voters to choose between voting for their preferred candidate (and risk helping elect the candidate they like the least) or for their second choice to avoid “wasting” their vote. This dilemma is one of the most harmful dynamics in our electoral system, deterring millions from the voting booth every year.
Under the current system, qualified candidates either stay out of the race or are forced to run on major party tickets, rather than as third party or independent candidates. Why? Because running independently guarantees “spoiler” and “wasted vote” accusations (see Ralph Nader in 2000) as well as a perceived lack of credibility with media focused on two-party horse race dynamics. Arguably, GOP candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders may have run as independents in 2016, but chose instead to run under major parties to ensure media coverage and debate time and to avoid wearing the spoiler label. Other candidates, like Michael Bloomberg, stayed out of the race because he believed he’d take votes away from candidate Hillary Clinton.