With the entrance of Tom Tancredo into the Colorado gubernatorial race as the Constitution Party candidate, pundits have suddenly turned their attention to potential solutions to “vote-splitting”. We recently reported about the preferred solution for Colorado LP candidate Jaimes Brown. However, Eric Fried, the Secretary of the Colorado Green Party suggest a different reform:
How does ranked choice voting work? It’s literally as easy as 1, 2, 3. Instead of voting for just one candidate – often settling for the “lesser of two evils” – you rank them in preference order.
In the first round, your first choice is tallied as your vote. If a candidate receives at least 50 percent plus one vote, they win. If no one achieves a majority, a “runoff” occurs instantly. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and the votes for that candidate are reallocated to the candidate who was ranked next on the ballot by that voter.
If someone now has a majority, they win. The process repeats until one candidate gets a majority. If you voted for a losing candidate, your vote still counts only once – for your highest choice still in the running – instead of being thrown away.
In our Governor’s race, for example, conservatives disappointed in both McInnis and Maes could vote for Tom Tancredo first, the winner of the Republican primary second, and Hickenlooper third.
If Tancredo comes in last, those votes roll over to the Republican candidate (and vice versa). If a majority votes for one of the conservative candidates, the leading conservative wins. With ranked voting, voters can freely vote their conscience and send a powerful message to the political establishment.