Proportional Representation and Ranked Choice Voting
joe shikspack featured an Intercept article tonight that covered efforts by the Minnesota legislature, with help from ALEC, to ban Ranked Choice Voting, which would give third parties a leg up.
Republican state Sen. Mark Koran defended the legislation in an interview with local news outlet MinnPost. “Every vote should count, and every vote should be as simple as ‘I picked my top candidate,'” said Koran, who is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill. “I think it changes the dynamics of, do you win by a second or third chance? It just doesn’t seem natural, and we have an established elections process that has worked well for more than 100 years.”
It's worked a whole lot better for the Oligarchs than the voters, which is why we need change and why TPTB are threatened by Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) and Proportional Representation (PR).
What the bill does:
The Minnesota bill prohibits a list of “political subdivisions” — such as cities, counties, townships, and even school districts — from adopting ranked-choice voting. A bipartisan group of legislators introduced it, but the two Democrats who had initially sponsored it pulled their support a few days later.
The legislative measure is what is known as a preemption bill, a tool conservative state lawmakers have used to block municipalities from setting their own policies. Many of these bills are promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which has teamed up with corporations to author legislation that was used, for example, to ban municipal broadband and city living wage laws. The mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, Andrew Gillum, has made overturning preemption laws a cornerstone of his bid to be Florida’s next governor.
There was a more extensive analysis at In These Times:
The Two-Party System Is Facing Its Biggest Challenge In 70 Years:
From Maine to Missouri, states are bucking the establishment to push radical electoral reforms.
Why this approach matters:
One path forward is to engage each issue and press for change within the existing dysfunctional system. But if there is a game-changing and achievable solution that solves some of the most profound problems at once—ending the stranglehold of the two major parties, multiplying the representation of minority voters, decreasing polarization and boosting voter engagement—doesn’t it deserve serious attention from progressives?
The author covers some historical success stories with PR and explains some of the problems:
The case for PR holds that the maddening things about American democracy are built into our legislative maps and our voting procedures; dysfunction and disenchantment are features of our electoral system, not bugs.
And the case for Ranked Choice Voting:
RCV breaks the grip of the two-party system in another way, by solving the problem of spoiler candidates and boosting voter engagement. In RCV, a voter’s second-choice candidate receives her vote if her first choice is eliminated. The same is true for her third choice if the second choice is eliminated.
Minnesota is not an isolated case:
The Santa Clara bill would mark the first time a city has adopted multi-member districting and RCV since the 1950s. Only Cambridge, Mass., currently elects its city council using RCV in multi-member districts.
The elections in Maine and Santa Clara are bellwethers that proportional representation is gaining momentum. A nascent effort in Missouri captures the kind of passion and faith it can inspire.
Winston Apple is a man on a mission:
Apple is a member of Our Revolution and a self-described “political revolutionary.” He’s also a candidate for Congress in Missouri’s 6th District.
And he has a website::
For his mission to change Missouri’s electoral system, he’s created a website, Government by the people.org, with two short videos that explain the basics of proportional representation, in addition to essays that describe it in painstaking detail. And he takes his cause on the road.
Keep your eye on Maine:
The referendum in Maine would establish ranked-choice voting for all state and federal elections, which is a more modest and less disruptive reform than combining it with multi-member districts. Think of RCV as the gateway to full PR.
This is an idea that can really help reform elections:
It’s curious bordering on bizarre that proportional representation doesn’t attract more interest and resources from progressives. It cuts the Gordian knot of entrenched problems in U.S. politics, achieving many of the movement’s most cherished goals, notably by increasing representation among minority populations and by making votes for third-party candidates more relevant. In an era that’s been defined by playing defense, it offers a realistic plan for democratic revitalization that flips the script on the GOP’s anti-democratic impulses.
And I think proportional representation, honestly, is the biggest issue that we can deal with right now. In the states where we can get it passed, those states are going to have genuinely democratic elections. And be the envy of the rest of the country.”
Check out the rest of the story at In These Times