This Benton County ballot measure would enact ranked-choice voting for future county-level general elections. Ranked-choice voting is a method of voting in which voters rank candidates in order of preference. All first choices are tallied. If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, the least popular candidate is eliminated, and ballots cast for them are redistributed to more popular candidates based on voters’ second choices, until one candidate has a majority.
Common Cause Position:
Common Cause endorses this ballot measure because ranked-choice voting has been shown to promote healthy democratic outcomes.
Ranked-choice voting helps to elect candidates that better reflect the support of a majority of voters. It encourages candidates to reach out to more voters, and it incentivizes them to run more positive and inclusive campaigns. It enables voters to support candidates who most closely reflect their interests, including third-party candidates and those who might otherwise be dismissed as “spoilers”. There is also evidence that ranked-choice voting increases the influence of historically under-represented populations.
Now more than ever, we need reforms that engage and empower voters and restore sensible balance to the democratic process. Other communities across the country – from big cities like San Francisco to smaller towns like Cambridge, Massachusetts – already use ranked-choice voting with proven results. With Measure 2-100, Benton County has an opportunity to pass real reform that will give voters more meaningful choices and lead to more representative government.