Ranked Choice Voting
Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) just makes sense, especially when it comes to party primaries. In the current system, plurality wins the primary. In areas such as ours, where a single party controls, the primary is essentially the election. In a contested race, a candidate could win the primary with as low as 17% of the vote, and because of the single-party control, become the elected representative with a vast minority of the voters of the district. That’s not good for democracy.
Moreover, RCV allows elections to be less negative and contentious. To use a personal example, I’m in a race that has six contenders for the same position. We clearly know many of the same people, simply by being active in the community. In the current system, the people that we mutually know must choose between us, forcing the community to divide itself into camps, and forcing us candidates to “steal” supporters. RCV would allow people to choose to support multiple candidates, and just choose to issue their preferences, rather than divide into separate fighting camps, leaving people bitter over someone supporting or opposing any given candidate.
The end result of RCV is a process that puts power back into the hands of the voters, allows elections to be less contentious towards the candidates and more about the issues, gives the community the opportunity to stay cohesive rather than forcing them to split apart, and gives the best opportunity for a candidate with the broadest support from a majority of the electorate.
Automatic Voter Registration
Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) is an essential piece of our democracy. It is no surprise that the more roadblocks and hassles that are put in someone’s way, the less likely they are to do it. When it comes to a fundamental aspect of our democracy, voting, the extra steps in registering to vote are often enough to stop people from bothering. As a result, potentially millions of people lack a voice in our democracy.
Illinois passed AVR in 2017, which was a major victory. And yet, somehow, people are still falling through the cracks, those who turn 18 are still not guaranteed to be on the rolls, and we fall further and further behind.
As an anecdote, on my 18th birthday, I received my draft card, several college advertisements, and a razor from Gillette (meaning these were all in the mail, timed to be delivered, exactly on that day). If even a shaving company can get this right, there’s no reason Illinois shouldn’t be able to make sure that all its citizens can exercise one of their most fundamental rights.