Let independents vote without being 'spoilers'

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Progressive Liberals and Libertarians know too well how this election has forced us to drop our principles and vote for the “lesser of two evils”.

Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee have proved themselves dishonest; her ties to Wall Street and big money interests, the leaked DNC emails showing how the deck was stacked against Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, as well as their refusal to support progressive policies like single-payer universal health care would otherwise lead many of us to support the progressive Green Party. Unfortunately, if I vote my conscience and support the party that is truly pushing for progressive policies, I am essentially voting for Donald Trump. This spoiler effect paradox is a problem that we must address.

With our current electoral system, third parties simply cannot win. In order to join the debate stage, a candidate must reach 15 percent in 5 consecutive national polls; but without media attention, it is difficult to reach that threshold. This year we’ve seen third party exposure with Gary Johnson averaging 7 percent and Jill Stein averaging 3 percent. Without fears about the spoiler effect these numbers would be greater, so to solve this problem we must embrace an instant runoff voting system.

Instant runoff voting allows voters to rank candidates by preference. Voters simply rank those whom they view favorably, leaving the rest unranked. Ballots then run through a series of counts, the candidate with the least number of votes per round is eliminated and their votes are granted to each ballot’s second choice.

This model best represents how I, and many voters, see the election — some options are acceptable, others are not. Instead of feeling disenfranchised, I would be able to vote my conscience by voting for Bernie had he run Independent or Green, while still showing my support for Democrats whom I align with on most issues.

Be they liberal, conservative, neither or a combination of the two, independents make up 42 percent of the voting population. Instant runoff voting would give us a voice by inviting non-establishment parties into the field.

• Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz of Sioux City is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business.

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