I have lived and worked in Decatur for more than 30 years. This year’s primary election was the first in a very long time where I did not participate. In the general election, many sections presented only one choice to voters. I left those sections blank.
During this frustrating election cycle, I became aware of ranked-choice voting. This alternative voting method is active in Maine and Alaska, dozens of other cities, and just recently got approval in the city of Evanston with 82% voting yes.
Ranked choice voting gives you more power by allowing you to rank multiple candidates according to your preference. If no one receives a true majority after the initial vote tally, and if your No. 1 choice cannot win, your ballot then counts for your next choice. This reduces voter apathy because your vote is never thrown away.
Ranked choice voting eliminates the issue of “spoiler” candidates who are often viewed as stealing votes away from candidates with similar views and allows for voters like you and me to have more choices. It also encourages civil campaigning among candidates and promotes healthy competition of ideas, which would be a welcome change.
We currently have a better chance of finding the right spread for our PBJ in the grocery store than finding a satisfying slate of candidates on the ballot. That doesn’t allow for a good democracy. Evanston just changed its system for the better, and we should do the same here in Decatur.
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