It’s a common theme that people feel they are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils at the ballot box.
Alternatively, if there are more than two candidates, voters often avoid casting a vote for the candidate they like the most due to a fear of electing the candidate they like the least.
In neither of these scenarios are voters choosing a candidate they truly support. This is due to our prevailing electoral system in which voters can only vote for one candidate, and the candidate who gets more votes than the others, wins.
Not only does this system lead to voting for unpopular candidates, it also leads to third-party candidates being discouraged from running and being seen as spoilers.
Additionally, it leads to mud-slinging and negative campaigning, as candidates try only to prove that the other candidate is a greater evil.
Several alternative voting systems exist and have been implemented in various locations across the country. One of the most popular is called Ranked Choice Voting. Ranked Choice Voting (also called Instant Runoff Voting) is a system in which instead of voting for one candidate, voters rank as many of the candidates as they choose. When tabulating a winner, the candidate with the fewest votes is excluded, and his or her votes are then transferred to the second choices of the voters.
This prevents the spoiler effect, which encourages a larger candidate pool, giving voters greater choice. Ranked Choice Voting has already been implemented here in Colorado. It’s currently in use in both Basalt and Telluride.
FairVote is a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans. They analyze elections and build support for nonpartisan reforms at the local, state, and, ultimately, national level through strategic research, communications and collaboration. They are the driving force behind winning ranked choice voting and multi-winner legislative districts that together will open up our elections to real choice and more civil campaigns, end gerrymandering, and make every voter matter in every election.
Bridging the growing partisan divide in the legislature by electing centrist, independent candidates to office.
Rooting out political corruption by enacting stronger ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance reforms.
Allowing all voters to participate in all elections by defending open primaries.
Leveling the playing field that currently advantages incumbents by ending the practice of partisan gerrymandering.
Providing voters greater choice in elections by establishing alternate voting systems both locally and statewide.