The promises and drawbacks of ranked choice voting

Ranked choice voting makes voting more representative and meaningful, according to an advocate and politician sponsoring related legislation.

Ranked choice voting is a system that allows people to rank their favorite candidates, preventing votes from being wasted — even those made for a less popular candidate. In the last decade, the voting system has become increasingly popular in cities across the U.S. Recently, some Michigan state representatives introduced a slate of bills in the House trying to make it easier for cities to pass the voting system.

“That kind of whole conversation about, ‘oh is that candidate just a spoiler,’ kind of just goes away.” — Rob Richie, president and CEO of FairVote

Listen: Why ranked choice voting has been spreading across the U.S.



Rob Richie is the president and CEO of FairVote, an organization that says it makes elections more functional and representative. Richie says ranked choice voting offers voters more meaningful candidate options because their vote is no longer meaningless even if they support someone unpopular. “That kind of whole conversation about, ‘oh is that candidate just a spoiler,’ kind of just goes away,” he says.

State Rep. Regina Weiss is a Democrat from Oak Park representing Michigan’s 27th House district. Weiss sponsored legislation making it easier to have ranked choice voting, and that while it’s unlikely to pass, it’s important to advocate for. “We want to continue having the conversation and keep on pushing for it because we do have local governments, right now, local voters who have indicated that they want to use this process.”

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  • Sam Corey

    Sam Corey is a producer for Detroit Today on 101.9 WDET, which includes finding and preparing interesting stories for radio. He enjoys salsa dancing — and actual salsa.