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Ranked Choice Voting — should Greens embrace it or be concerned?

Ranked Choice Voting, also known by many as Instant Runoff Voting (please don't claim there's technical differences; I know that IRV is one of several ranked voting systems) will be how Maine conducts its state elections in 2018.  (Unfortunately, though I know of no U.S. Constitution bar to the idea, per that second link, it does NOT cover the presidential election. And, that's not because this is a trial for 2018 only; the ballot measure stipulates elections after Jan. 1, 2018, and not JUST in 2018.)

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and the party both touted Maine voters approving this on Nov. 8. But, some Greens think it will actually hurt them. The fear is that this will co-opt Green voters into becoming accommodationist to Democrats. Given that the issue of how much Stein and others in one wing of Green leadership, like David Cobb, already may be doing this, this is a legitimate concern — if it's legitimately grounded. 

But, is it? 

I do appreciate the concern, but think it's overblown. 

First, a foot in the door is a foot in the door. Unless it's an openly accommodationist foot, it's a foot that shouldn't be looked in the mouth, to mix metaphors. 

And, I don't think it's an openly accommodationist foot, and I certainly don't think that's its primary intent. 

Second, it IS a foot in the door. Some people, especially in narrow races, who see “lesser evilism” and “greater evilism” in the two major parties, as in this presidential election, may be afraid of rewarding “greater evilism” in our current voting system. I voted Green; I didn't vote for Donald Trump by doing so. Nonetheless, I understand the concern, even the fear, and think it's a greater concern than some Greens have about RCV being accommodationist. 

Third, if that IS a concern, the accommodationist issue, there's a way to avoid that. 

RCV, of course, has voters rank candidates.  

A typical election with the four largest parties having candidates on the ballot might see a Green, or Green leaner, do:  
1 = Green 
2 = Democrat 
3 = Republican 
4 = Libertarian. 

Well, who says you have to do that?  

You can not only not give a 3 to the Republican or a 4 to the Libertarian, you can also choose not to give a 2 to the Democrat, at least hypothetically. (Note: I do not know if Maine's law requires a voter to rank every candidate. However, per the Ballotpedia link, the second from top above, this does not appear to be the case. Feedback is appreciated.) 

In that case, as soon as the Green candidate misses the cut, so does your vote. 


That's no different than the current system. 

So, RCV may not be perfect. And, it may not even be the best ranked voting system, though it's very arguably the easiest to understand.

And, it's better than the current, IMO. 

That said, I do agree with the Green Party Power statement that RCV, or any ranked voting or plural voting system, is not in and of itself a cure-all, or close to it. (And, in case it's not clear, that this needs to be across the country, not just Maine.)

This post first appeared on SocraticGadfly, please read the originial post: here

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Ranked Choice Voting — should Greens embrace it or be concerned?


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