Photo by Jacquesofalltrades.
The DC Fair Elections Act has been a huge success. This act, which provides robust public financing to candidates for election in DC, was taken advantage by seven of the eight candidates for the Ward Two Democratic primary. Hell, even Jack Evans of all people used it. While the apparent winner, Brooke Pinto, eschewed the program, it undeniably enabled many more candidates to make a noticeable splash than in the prior system. This is a great thing, but it makes it all the more essential that we adopt some form of ranked choice voting.
Ranked choice voting essentially asks voters to rank the candidates by the order of preference. You can rank them all, or just some, or just one. It’s up to you. After the votes are cast, the Board of Elections runs a quick and open algorithm to see which candidate is preferred by the most voters. Here is a basic video explaining how the most common version works:
Brook Pinto only got 28% of the vote. In a crowded field, getting 28% is actually pretty good! But who knows if she’d win with ranked choice voting. We do know, however, that the winner of a ranked choice election, whoever that would’ve been, could more confidently claim to be the preferred candidate of the voters.
Don’t think that simply because GM’s favorite candidate didn’t win the Ward Two primary that this is just sour grapes. This is something he’s be calling for for literally ten years. It made sense back then, but it really makes sense in a world of publicly financed campaigns.
We got more candidates to choose from this year than we have literally ever had. That’s great! But now we need to change how we choose.