Rank the Vote Oklahoma
We are Oklahoma citizens working to educate our neighbors and communities on the advantages of instant runoff voting (IRV), aka ranked choice voting.
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What's this all about?
Oklahoma, like most places in the US, uses plurality voting, aka first past the post, to determine general election winners. It's a simple system: you vote for just one candidate, and whoever gets the most votes wins (even if they don't have a majority).
But just because it's simple, doesn't mean it's good! In fact, most people who study voting systems tend to agree that plurality is one of the very worst ways to run an election. It has led to problems and perverse outcomes in Maine, in Florida, here in Oklahoma (more than once), and in many other places, time and time again. Why is it such a problem? Our current system of voting leads to
- Voter Dilemmas / Insincere Voting, when voters feel forced to adopt calculated strategies based on who they think other voters might like, instead of just picking their own honest favorite
- Limited Voter Choices, by discouraging strong independents and third-party candidates (often cast as "spoilers") from running at all
- Negative Campaigns, because the best way to win is to tear down the other candidate (and the tendency of plurality systems to yield only two strong contenders makes dark-money attack ads all the more effective)
- Elected Officials with Low Voter Support, when candidates who appeal to less than a majority end up winning because other similar, more popular, candidates divide voters between them
- Election Manipulation, when major parties quietly fund spoiler candidates to help defeat a major candidate
- Gerrymandering, which is made more effective and enticing by the large number of wasted votes in a plurality system
There's a better way.
It's called instant runoff voting (IRV), also known as ranked-choice voting. In this system, each voter ranks as many candidates as they want to, and these rankings are used to determine the overall winner (see how it works). IRV helps to improve all of the problems mentioned above, and it would also eliminate the need for Oklahoma's primary runoff system, saving about $1 million per election cycle (and saving voters valuable time!). Because of its simple appeal, voters are choosing IRV in more and more places, including statewide elections in Maine and Alaska; Republican and Democratic primaries in Utah and Virginia; and at some level of political office in over half of U.S. states. (It also helps select the Oscars Best Picture Winner.)
Instant runoff voting is a simple but powerful change that encourages politicians to run more positive, solution-focused campaigns, and that gives voters more choices and more freedom.