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Issue Position: Election Reform

Issue Position

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Political polarization is arguably our nation's biggest problem. Our country's two-party system is a major cause of this.

Let's fix the system.

Despite warnings from our country's founders about the dangers of political parties and no mention of them in our founding documents, a powerful two-party system has grown up over the years, completely outside the Constitution but deeply burrowed into our election laws.

In many ways, our politics are controlled by the two major parties. And because the two parties are themselves non-governmental and in many ways non-democratic, our politics are susceptible to being dominated by powerful hidden interests.

It's time to change that. Dropping the straight party ballot and adopting runoff elections are two steps we can take toward improving things.

Our lack of runoff elections for both the primary or general elections is highly undemocratic. It's possible to win either election with only a small plurality of the votes (nowhere near a full majority). Thus a candidate can be elected to office by a minority of a minority of those voting!

Runoff elections are used in some other states to address this problem. But separate runoff elections are expensive, cumbersome, and often fail to get a good voter turnout.

A promising alternative is something called "instant runoff voting" (also known as "ranked choice voting"):

Voters vote for their preferred candidate as usual, but also list their second choice, third choice, etc.
If a majority of voters prefer a single candidate as their first choice, that candidate is declared the winner, just as in the current system.
But if no candidate receives a majority of the votes, an instant runoff is held:
the candidate receiving the fewest votes is eliminated
the ballots are recounted, but if a ballot's first choice was the candidate who was eliminated, then that ballot is counted for its second choice candidate. (Each ballot is counted toward its top-ranked choice of non-eliminated candidates.)
That process (of eliminating the last candidate and recounting the next choice on the ballots for that candidate) continues until one candidate receives a majority of the ballots cast.
The state of Maine adopted this system for their 2018 elections, a number of cities also use it, and it is being considered by other states. Kentucky should adopt this Ranked Choice Voting system.


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