Why Ranked Choice Voting is Deeply Flawed

In a Law and Liberty essay last month, George Hawley opines in favor of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) while serendipitously, The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel recently argued RCV is a scam. Neither of these articles explicitly defines RCV (also known as Instant Runoff Voting or IRV). While this form of voting is still boutique, it is becoming more common as an electoral method. Most elections in the United States are a two-round system of first-past-the-post (FPTP) or plurality, as opposed to majority, voting: In the first round the standard bearer for each political party is selected by plurality vote and then in the second round, this occurs among the top candidates for each party, again by plurality.

RCV is an electoral system where voters rank candidates by ordinal preference on their ballots. If a candidate has the majority of first-rank votes, then that candidate wins. However, if no candidate receives a majority of first-place votes, then the candidate with the fewest first-rank votes is eliminated. Read more…

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