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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A recent column in The Gazette dismisses plans under consideration to potentially move Cedar Rapids’ elections toward Ranked Choice Voting, describing it as an option that “will never be a clean or simple process.”
With Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), voters just rank candidates from their most preferred to least preferred. Any candidate who receives a majority of the first-preference votes wins automatically. Otherwise, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated, and those that voted for her have their votes cast for their second-preference candidate. This continues until a candidate has won a majority of votes.
Maybe RCV sounds complicated at first, or maybe it doesn't. Regardless, voters overwhelmingly find it easy in practice. In Minneapolis’ 2017 mayoral election, 92% of voters said that RCV was easy. Similarly, in New York City’s 2021 mayoral election (the city’s first use of RCV), 95% of voters described RCV as “simple” and 77% wanted to use RCV in their future elections.
This isn’t to discount the experience of people who might have difficulties adjusting to RCV, but to highlight that RCV can be accessible and offer the suite of benefits local proponents cite. The 52 U.S. cities that use RCV have all made successful efforts to educate voters. We can equitably transition to a voting system that gives us all more voice in our democracy. After all, shouldn’t our ballots let us more accurately express how we feel about the candidates? This is why I love ranked choice voting.
Coe College Senior
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