Myth: Ranked choice voting favors the party in power

Answer

Fact: Ranked Choice Voting directly combats entrenched party politics by removing the spoiler effect.

With Ranked Choice Voting this argument makes very little sense as almost all components of RCV lead to a healthier voting system that doesn’t favor any party. As previously mentioned, in America we typically use a system called ‘first-past-the-post’ or ‘winner-take-all’. That is to say the first person to get a plurality, no matter how small the lead is and how far from 50% of the vote they are, is the winner. Why should someone who can’t get 51% or more of the vote go on to represent 100% of the voters?

In elections there are typically people who we strongly support, kind of support, oppose, and strongly oppose. As time goes on with ‘first-past-the-post’ elections, past election performance will influence how voters vote. They might strongly support one candidate but know someone who they strongly dislike has a good chance of winning. They might also know their candidate’s party has never won before and doesn’t stand a good chance of beating the person they dislike. So, they are forced to compromise and vote for the candidate who is most likely to beat the person they dislike, or risk wasting their vote. This will always lead to an election system that favors two parties and punishes voters who don’t fully align with either.

Ranked choice voting changes this at the source. RCV allows you to choose several possible choices in order of preference. Candidates are eliminated in rounds, and as candidates are eliminated, the voters who chose that candidate still get a say in who wins by moving their vote to another candidate until only two candidates are left, and the winner is the one with a true majority of votes, ensuring that no vote is wasted.

Check out THIS video by content creator CGP Grey for an easy explanation on how the first-past-the-post voting system works overtime.