Participation in community elections is falling. Part of the apathy during elections is the fact that many people don’t feel that their vote counts or that their favorite candidate can get elected against politicians that are heavily backed by political organizations and PACs.
I will say that in 1973, on my 18th birthday, I registered to vote as a member of the Republican Party. Since that time, I have voted in every election, not always straight ticket, whether it was municipal or national.
In 2008, the Tea Party kidnaped the Republican Party, moved it to the extreme right and left me standing by myself near the center of the political spectrum. So, I registered Non-Partisan and remain so today.
Unfortunately, the U.S. is entrenched in this two-party system whereby, if you are not a Republican or a Democrat, you have very little chance of succeeding politically. And within each party, if you are not one of the favored candidates you also have very little chance of going forward, even in your own party. Donald Trump being the exception to that last statement.
In order to create more interest in the election process, we need to make the process fair for all candidates. There is a wave of communities and states that are adopting Ranked Choice Voting in certain types of elections. I think that it should be for every type of election, but like most things, you start small and build.
In the Ranked Choice Election process, the Republicans and the Democrats can still have their primary elections if they want to show solidarity in their party. However, I don’t think that the citizens should have to pay for a formal election to help a “club” pick who they want to represent them.
In the Ranked Choice Election, anyone who wants to run for a particular office can run, and the voting public can vote for them as either their first, second, or third choice candidate. The winner is the person that receives 51% or more of the votes. If there is not a 51% vote getter, then the person with the highest number of first and second choice votes that puts them over the 51% threshold, is considered the winner.
Not only will Ranked Choice Voting create more interest in the election process, but it would also allow for the election of more independent candidates. More independent candidates would cut down on all of the partisan politics that we are seeing in the state and federal legislature and perhaps see better legislative decisions.
Right now, none of the states or communities that allow Ranked Choice Voting use that process for the presidential election. However, I am in hopes that one day, probably not in my lifetime, that Ranked Choice Voting will be the standard.