My Turn: Ranked-choice voting is in the state’s best interest

For the Monitor
Published: 4/1/2019 12:10:10 AM

I encourage you to support ranked-choice voting in New Hampshire’s 2020 presidential primary. The advantages of RCV to the state’s electorate, regardless of party affiliation, are significant and worthy of consideration.

In a field of many candidates, traditional voting makes it difficult to vote one’s conscience. Casting a ballot for any candidate that is not among the front-runners risks being what many would consider a wasted vote. Resigning oneself to supporting one of the popular candidates gives far too much influence to polls. With ranked-choice voting, voters are able to clearly indicate their personal preferences from among the entire field of choices, and whoever ultimately wins is guaranteed to have majority support.

The importance of majority support can hardly be overemphasized, but it is improbable when voting the traditional way from among a crowded slate. The recent embarrassment in Fall River, Mass., where the mayor was recalled after being accused of defrauding investors, but then was voted back in with only 35 percent of the vote, is an example of where RCV would have enabled the 65 percent who were displeased with this candidate to elect someone with broader support. In an election using RCV, any “spoiler effect” due to the influence of multiple candidates will be effectively remedied, to the benefit of whichever candidate proves most popular.

It is worth noting as well that the implementation of RCV in the electoral process should result in more civil election campaigns. Candidates will not likely want to alienate those supporting other candidates, as all will be vying for those “second choice” votes.

It is my understanding that a provision for using ranked choice voting in the 2020 presidential primary will be coming before the New Hampshire Senate this month. I encourage every voter to contact their state senator, asking for their support for ranked-choice voting, which I truly believe is in the best interest of the state.

(Paul Pindris lives in Deerfield.)

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