Letter, Opinion

How ranked choice voting can save our elections

Dear Editor,

The spoiler effect — a problem that we know all too well, yet too little about. Each time the presidential election comes around we are met with the inevitable frustration and disillusionment caused by our two-party system. Instead of voting for who we truly believe in, we often cast our ballots for whomever we deem to be the lesser of two evils. Oftentimes, my heart lies with a third party candidate that I know just doesn’t have a chance of winning. I know that voting for anyone besides one of the two major candidates is only making it easier for the candidate I like the least to win. So, instead of casting a vote with conviction, I cast one out of fear. This, in essence, is the spoiler effect.

Many of us believe that voting is not only a right, but a civic duty. So why does only 50% of the population show up to the polls to begin with? In part, many feel they lack the ability to vote for who and what they truly believe in; and really, are they so wrong?

I didn’t learn until recently that there are actually many viable solutions to the spoiler effect and our troublesome election system at large—one of them is ranked choice voting’ (RCV). In short, RCV allows voters the option to rank candidates in order of preference: One, two, three, and so forth. If your vote cannot help your top choice win, your vote counts for your next choice. In this system, you can vote for the candidate that you truly love, while having the peace of mind that your vote won’t be thrown away.

Ranked choice voting is a way to ensure elections are fair for all voters, and it’s already a reality! All 50 states (especially Vermont) should follow Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, and Wyoming’s lead in 2024 by adopting ranked choice voting as part of their primary process. If you’d like to learn more about RCV, please visit fairvote.org.

Isabella O’Connor, Royalton

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