Drutman: Ranked choice voting ‘eliminates the spoiler effect’


Political scientist and author Lee Drutman said that ranked choice voting could lead to more viable third-party candidates and prevent similarly aligned candidates from spoiling each other’s chances.

During an interview on Hill.TV’s “Rising,” Drutman, author of “Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America,” said that ranked choice voting “encourages a broader range of candidates” to enter U.S. elections.

“The positive aspect of ranked choice voting is it does open the political space a little bit for more candidates to enter the race. A lot of folks across the political spectrum believe that if they had more of a fair shot that their candidates would do better,” Drutman said.

Ranked-choice systems allow voters to select candidates in order of preference. If there is no majority first-place candidate, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated and voters who chose that candidate have their second choice vote counted. This process continues until one candidate achieves a majority. 

Ranked-choice voting has been implemented in several municipalities throughout the country, including New York City’s mayoral primary

But, Drutman said, the most valuable aspect of ranked-choice voting is that it prevents vote splitting.  

“One of the most appealing properties of ranked-choice is that it eliminates the spoiler effect.” Drutman said. “At the very least, voters don’t feel that they have to contain their choices. They can vote for their first preferred candidate first and express their political voice that way and if that candidate is not super popular, they get a back-up vote.”

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