Voting is one of the most important rights citizens receive from the Constitution. But when talking to some of my peers, many say they do not partake in voting because they feel their votes do not matter anyway and it’s a waste of time. Our current electoral system discourages citizens from exercising their right to vote, and ranked choice voting should be implemented instead.
In ranked choice voting, also called instant runoff voting, voters choose candidates and rank them based on how much they favor them. If one candidate receives the majority, they win. But, If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest first choices is out and voters who favored that candidate the most have their ballots instantly counted for their second choice. This process goes on until one candidate receives the majority of votes and wins the election.
Ranked choice voting eliminates the "wasted vote" feeling because even if your favorite candidate can’t win, your vote counts for the candidate you ranked second. Ranked ballots would increase voter turnout and likely produce more qualified candidates to choose from.
Ranked choice voting is not a silver bullet, but it would improve voter turnout and help solve problems with our current electoral system.
In many elections, candidates can win without the majority of votes, directly opposing the principle of majority rule in a representative democracy. President Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election with about three million less votes than former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Our leaders should be chosen by more than half of us.
Ranked choice voting could help solve this problem and the bigger problem of citizens not voting at all. Ranked choice voting restores majority rule, eliminates vote-splitting, gives voters more voice, more choice and reduces negative campaigning.
When voting, many citizens feel they have to vote for "the lesser of two evils" in order for their vote to count for anything. Ranked choice voting gives voters the freedom to vote without worrying that they might help elect their least favorite candidate.
Since candidates are ranked from favorite to least favorite, the use of attack ads on other candidates is not as prevalent because voters are less likely to pick a candidate who has negatively attacked their preferred candidate.
Ranked choice voting promotes positive and fair elections. The idea of instant runoff elections is not new. It was invented in New England in 1871 and has been used for over 120 years by hundreds of governments.
More states should move to impose a ranked choice voting system, as it would increase voter turnout and give citizens more voice and freedom when voting. Our current election process is severely broken, and ranked choice voting could be the best possible solution to fix this problem.
Max Nedanovich is a 21-year-old mass communication junior from Mandeville, Louisiana.