What's Choice Voting?
Choice voting is a simple way to improve elections on any level. You get to rank the candidates in the order you like them - 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice and so on. If your top choice isn't elected, your vote can go to your next choice, instead of being wasted. Check out this nice choice voting flash animation to see it in action.
The problem with the way we do it now is this: the more candidates run, the fewer votes it takes to win. Some votes count more than others, and a small minority of voters can decide the whole election for the rest of us.
With choice voting, the amount it takes to win stays the same no matter how many candidates run, and every vote counts equally. You can vote for who you really believe in, without worrying about throwing your vote away. This way, the candidates with the best ideas have a fair chance of winning, regardless their fame or financing.
Counting the votes is easy. The top choices are counted, and any candidate with enough votes to win gets elected. If no one has enough to win, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated - just like a runoff election - and those voters' next choices are counted instead. This repeats one round at a time until the election is won.
For a race where only one candidate gets elected – say for President – choice voting is easy: the winner needs to pass 50%. This makes sense, because it would be impossible for two candidates to both pass that amount.
For a race where more than one candidate gets elected – say for three at-large City Council seats – you’d ask the same question: what amount would be impossible for four candidates to all get? The answer is 25%, and so that becomes the amount it takes to win.
Choice voting guarantees majority rule. Since choice voting ensures the outcome is an accurate cross-section of the entire voting body, a majority decision by the council is more sure to represent a majority of the people.
Here are some of choice voting's benefits:
- protects majority rule
- eliminates the spoiler effect
- removes incentives to "bullet vote"
- increases voter say, giving more reason to vote
- decreases money needed to win
- provides for fair minority representation
- promotes positive campaigning