Ranked choice voting is a popular, easy-to-understand method for running elections that allows people to vote for the candidate they want without worrying about whether or not their vote will be “wasted.” When ranked choice voting is implemented, voters first vote for their favorite choice. Then, voters are allowed to pick a second choice in the event their favorite candidate does not receive a certain number of votes. Finally, candidates are allowed to choose a third choice in the event their second choice also does not get enough votes. To some, this sounds confusing but ranked choice voting is actually simple. Voters get to pick their favorite choice even if that candidate has a low chance of winning, and that often results in higher voter turnout. Voters are also more satisfied with the choices when they know the winner will be decided based on the collective decisions of a majority of voters rather than a small fraction of the population.
Derek Green, a candidate for mayor who recently dropped out of the race, was asked about his stance on ranked choice voting. Green stated, “As a candidate for Mayor, I support Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). I have held hearings on RCV, and I have lobbied the Pennsylvania General Assembly to introduce legislation that would make RCV a reality. Unfortunately, current state law does not allow for this type of election reform. RCV was a part of my civics legislative agenda package, which also included a system for publicly financing campaigns in Philadelphia. As Mayor, I will continue to push for election reforms, because good governance means demanding for policies that ensure all voices are heard.”
With that in mind, ranked choice voting will require support at all levels of government. Still, ranked choice voting has been implemented in other states and cities around the country. Maine and Alaska both use a variation of ranked choice voting. This is not a partisan issue. Everyone benefits from ranked choice voting. It is important for voters to demand that ranked choice voting be allowed in the city of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia’s mayoral primary election is this month. Philadelphia may not have a ranked choice voting system yet, but your voice and your vote still matter. Do not forget to vote on May 16!