Maine Adopts Ranked Choice Voting
Cato Institute takes a look at Maine's recent passage of an initiative allowing Ranked Choice Voting for state offices. I'm not sure but I think this is the same as Instant Runoff Voting where candidates are ranked in order of preference by voters:
"If a candidate wins more than half the votes, that candidate wins, just like in any other election. If no candidate has more than half the votes, then the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. The votes of those who selected the defeated candidate as a first choice are then added to the totals of their next choice. This process continues until the number of candidates is reduced to two or the winner earns more than half of the active votes."
I still get a little confused with how that works, but it does and, as the article points out, some cities already use them in municipal elections.
I'd prefer to vote that way but I'm not sure I could be labeled a RCV supporter. Proponents often point to the system allowing majorities to still have their way and voters needn't be as concerned with "wasting their vote" as often is a concern with the system most of us use now.
I'm not so sure that's a good idea. I used to be very supportive of RCV until it occurred to me it likely would lead to majorities getting even more power. In an area predominantly conservative or liberal, the ranking choices would likely lean strongly conservative or liberal from the first choice on down. That would seem to me to ensure the majority mindset would always be favored and likely the more extreme conservatives and liberals would prevail.
Some think that's a good thing and the way it should be. I don't. I figure government runs best when it's divided and a certain line of thought doesn't go unchallenged. It would seem to me less likely that would happen with RCV/ IRV.
The City of San Francisco uses RCV in their local elections so we might look there to see if my concerns hold water, except San Francisco has always been a largely authoritarian city. I suspect we'd see their elections resulting in authoritarians winning now just as they always have. From what little I've heard of their elections that seems to be true.
One good thing I'll agree with in regards RCV/IRV is we might not hear so much anymore about "wasting your vote". That would be nice.