LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A note on ranked choice voting in presidential elections
October 2, 2020
To the Editor:
In her op-ed last week, “Maine Progressives: Rank Biden Second,” Livia Kunins-Berkowitz argued that since Maine offers ranked-choice voting, progressives should place as their first choice a more progressive candidate, such as Howie Hawkins of the Green Party. This is an ill-advised suggestion with potentially disastrous consequences.
Yes, in all likelihood, Hawkins will only receive a small share of first-choice votes, and those votes will be transferred to Biden. However, in the unlikely event that Hawkins wins a majority in Maine, he will be depriving Biden of four potentially crucial electoral votes—ones which may well provide the margin of victory this year*. Therefore, even though ranking Hawkins first and Biden second in Maine is not nearly as reckless as voting for Hawkins outright in a different state, doing so is reckless nonetheless.
If our presidential elections were decided by popular vote, I would have no issues with Mainers voting “according to their values.” For better or worse, though, it is the Electoral College which decides the election. Therefore if, like Kunins-Berkowitz, you are “committed to preventing the re-election of Donald Trump,” I urge you to rank Biden first.
*Indeed, discounting a single faithless elector from Washington, D.C., four electoral votes was George W. Bush’s margin of victory in 2000.
Theo Danzig ’22
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Great piece. I cannot agree more.
This is…a hot take and doing nothing but making progressives less likely to rank Biden at all. Yes, we all realize that Donald Trump is an authoritarian and existential threat to America, but, discouraging people from voting their values is definitely something that depresses turnout. Also, the odds at a candidate currently getting less than 4% in the most optimistic polls gets a plurality are really low, so your use of the word reckless is moral grandstanding at best.
I also take issue with the logic. Why should we not be doing everything possible with a popular vote? Like why suddenly then could we just vote our values and hope for the best? Just because we think Biden would win? Because by your own logic, that’s not a good enough reason.
Young Theo here proving that even with the ranked choice voting system in place that we fought for in Maine , dems and libs will in fact, still find any way possible to try and vote shame actual progressives.