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Reflection on Ranked-Choice Voting

Updated: Apr 17, 2022

By: Alexander Trauben

Ranked-choice voting is a system in which voters rank candidates on the ballot sheet. If a person gets over 50% of 1st choice votes, then they win the election. If they do not, the person with the least votes gets eliminated and moves onto the second round. This goes on until someone gets over 50% of the vote and wins the election. This system of voting is quite different from what voters are used to, but the advantages outweigh the negatives.

Ranked Choice voting is still very new and will take time for voters to learn the new ballot sheet. The ranked-choice voting ballot sheet looks a lot different than what the majority of voters are used to. Moreover, there is limited education on how to vote using the new ballot sheet in areas with low voter turnout. This can cause people to vote incorrectly which might lead to them having their votes not counted. On the new ballot, a voter might rank two candidates on the same row or not rank a candidate on one of the rows. This can happen all over NYC and not just in areas with less voter education. Even though this is currently a disadvantage of ranked-choice voting, Mayor De Blasio launched a 15-million-dollar program to help educate the general public about ranked-choice voting. The disadvantages of ranked-choice voting can be solved with time and money.

The most significant advantage of ranked-choice voting is that voters get a larger say in their election. In a regular election, whoever gets over the majority wins the election. In some cases, elections get close, which can lead to people whose candidate did not win becoming upset about who gets elected. This will most likely not happen in ranked-choice voting. Voters can choose a 2nd or 3rd candidate, they will most likely be happier with who gets elected. Voters have more of a say in the election because they can vote for multiple candidates.

Another advantage of ranked-choice voting is that it takes for the tabulation of election results to be finished. In normal elections, if one of the candidates does not get over 50% of the votes, it goes to a runoff election. This can increase the time substantially and it can also increase the amount of money the state has to devote to the runoff election. In some states, runoff elections can cost 50% more than elections without runoffs. Because of this, people will have to pay more taxes to fund the runoff elections. This will most likely not happen in ranked-choice voting because a candidate will always win without a runoff needing to happen. Even though this was the first time NYC used ranked-choice voting, the process was fast. The majority of the time ranked-choice voting will be faster than the previous type of voting. In the next elections using ranked-choice voting, the election will undoubtedly go faster and smoother.

This new system of voting will benefit NYC eventually. It will allow the more popular candidate to win more than the usual way of voting. It also makes elections more democratic. People who do not vote for the winning candidate might still have other candidates that they put 2nd or 3rd that might win the election. People will not feel as if their vote is wasted if they vote for a candidate that does not win. There will be less fear by the party and the electors that their votes are splitting the number of votes a candidate could get. This will also help third parties because people will have the ability to put down multiple candidates on their ballot sheets. Eventually, people will realize the benefits outweigh the harms and feel more comfortable with this new system of voting

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