Ranked-Choice Voting: A Good Deal

Voting is a critical civic activity. While Washington works hard for good election practices, we could do better.

Ranked-choice voting (RCV) is a simple change in the way we vote that’s becoming popular across the U.S. RCV gives you the option to rank candidates on your ballot in your order of preference. If your preferred candidate can’t win, your “single transferable vote” moves to your next choice, if you’ve indicated one. You can mark only one candidate if you wish, but you have the option to rank the candidates. So you can vote for the candidate you like the best, even if you think that candidate isn’t popular with other voters. You don’t have to vote for a “lesser evil,” or worry that voting for your favorite candidate will result in “throwing away” your vote or “splitting the vote”. Thus, you more choice and more voice in elections.

In a time when elections feel so divisive, support for RCV crosses party lines. It’s been adopted in places like Alaska, Maine, New York and Utah. It encourages more civil, issues-based campaigns, encouraging more people to run for office. With RCV, primary and general elections can be combined, saving candidates and the public money.

RCV will be on our ballot in SJC this November! If it passes, it will go into our County Charter, going into effect once legislation passes on the state level. Putting RCV in our Charter signals that SJC is ready for it! Waiting for the state to pass RCV legislation means the Secretary of State can determine what software to use statewide and that would be streamlined statewide. Having the state purchase the software would likely save us money.

There are two RCV bills in the state legislature – one for Local Options, the other for Presidential Primaries. If you’d like these to pass in the next legislative session, please call our state legislators and let them know:

Debra Lekanoff (360) 786-7800

Alex Ramel (360) 786-7970

Liz Lovelett (360) 786-7678

RCV is a good deal for voters in SJC! Learn more at https://fairvotewa.org/what-is-ranked-choice-voting.

Sharon Abreu

Orcas Island