Benefits of Ranked Ballots

RaBIT founder Dave Meslin speaks about the benefits of Ranked Ballots on The Agenda with Steve Paikin.

Provides more choice for voters

Under our current system, candidates are often forced to drop out of the race to avoid vote-splitting. Some of this happens in a very public manner, as we've seen in this race. But most of it happens months before the election, as potential candidates are discouraged from entering the race. This happens at the local level, with young eager candidates being asked not to run by their own colleagues. This is the exact opposite experience we want young candidates to have. With runoff voting, new voices would be welcomed and encouraged. This would lead to more choice, more voices, more engagement, and more diversity.

Discourages negative campaigning

Under our current system, candidates often attack each other, throwing insults and accusations in an effort to discredit their opponents. With runoff voting, these tactics work against you. To win a runoff, you have to appeal to a larger audience - including your opponents' supporters, in the hope that they might rank you second. This means more positive debates, and a more respectful discussion. 

Eliminates vote splitting

Under our current system, people spend more time talking about potential vote splitting then they do talking about the issues. Headlines are dominated by stories about who is dropping out, who is stealing votes from who, etc. With runoff voting, there is no such thing as vote splitting. 

Reduces strategic voting

Under our current system, voters are often told to vote "strategically". With a ranked ballots and an Instant Runoff vote, you can always vote with your heart - not your calculator. You don't vote against something, you vote for something. 

Ensures candidates with the most support win

Under our current system, a candidate can 'win' an election with only 20% support, even when a greater number of voters would have preferred another candidate. In 2006, seven incumbent Councillors were returned to office, even though most of their constituents didn't want them back.