Commentary: Why we need ranked-choice voting

Ballots are prepared for recounting in Maine's 2nd Congressional District, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Augusta, Maine. The recount was requested by outgoing U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin after losing a November ranked-choice race to Rep.-elect Jared Golden. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

When asked about the 2016 presidential election, the most common response is, “I chose the lesser of two evils.”

This low bar thinking does not lead to unifying or effective leadership. As a country, we can do better than this.

Division between parties has become so extreme. Candidates who speak only to their bases are nominated, and then voters are left with no moderate options. Ranked-choice voting can change this by incentivizing more positive campaigns and by reducing extremism.

Besides being a concerned citizen, I am also a member of Stand Up Republic, which is a nationwide grassroots organization that promotes liberty, equality and truth. As citizens, we have a responsibility to be informed and engaged in maintaining our freedoms. Stand Up Republic proactively supports electoral reform, including ranked-choice voting.

Also known as instant-runoff voting, this novel voting system allows voters to rank their candidates in numerical order by preference. Once votes are in, if there is a majority, that candidate wins. If not, the candidate in last place is eliminated, and voters who ranked that candidate as number one will have their votes go to their next choice. This process continues until a majority is reached.

How will this improve our current system? Right now, hyper-partisanship has created an environment where the winner feels no accountability to opposing voters. However, if during the campaign, candidates are encouraged to appeal to a broader spectrum of voters in order to win, those elected will naturally provide more unifying leadership. Furthermore, independent candidates will no longer be considered “spoilers” and will have an equal opportunity to win.

As Americans, when we are faced with challenges, we find better solutions. If we want to heal the divide, we must elect leaders who will inspire that healing. Ranked-choice voting can be the means to that end.

For more information on ranked-choice voting and Stand Up Republic’s electoral reform platform please visit: https://standuprepublic.com/announcing-surs-electoral-reform-agenda/

Or come to our picnic on May 18, at the West Riverfront Park Pavilion in South Jordan from 1 pm to 3 pm. We will have a mock election with desserts to sample, in order to demonstrate ranked-choice voting. Please join us!

Melissa Kwarteng | Stand Up Republic

Melissa Kwarteng, American Fork, is a member of Stand up Republic - Utah.