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Iowa group hopes to gain Iowans support for ranked choice voting

Iowa group hopes to gain Iowans support for ranked choice voting{ }{p}{/p}
Iowa group hopes to gain Iowans support for ranked choice voting

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Better Ballot Iowa, a non-partisan group looking at election reform, is now focusing primarily on ranked choice voting.They’re working to educate Iowans on what it is and argue it could maximize your vote.

Matt Wetstein, the President of Better Ballot Iowa says, “we’re looking at reforms that we feel will have high impact in making politics more practical and more reasonable and less divisive.”

Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank candidates in the order of preference. If a candidate receives a majority of the votes, they win the election but if no one does then the candidate with the fewest first preference votes is eliminated and anyone who voted for the eliminated candidate, would get their second choice counted. This cycle would continue until one candidate receives a majority.

Wetstein says, “if you’ve ever heard the expression don’t vote for so and so you’re throwing your vote away or if you’ve ever heard people say I hope this candidate doesn’t run because they’ll split the vote and then the person we don’t want will win. That’s known as the spoiler effect and ranked choice voting fixes that.”

The group feels this voting style will help with the current political divide because candidates would need to reach all voters not just their specific political party.

“In a ranked choice voting election, in order to win you need to get a majority of the in play votes and that means candidates need to appeal not only to the voters who pick them first but they also need to earn voters second choice," says Wetstein.

With current state laws, ranked choice voting is impossible for Iowa cities and counties to adopt but members of Better Ballot Iowa think they have a good enough case to get bi-partisan support to create a new law.

Hoping to gain support statewide for ranked choice voting, the organization is planning to target specific areas where the changes may be most beneficial. Right now the cities of Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids are on their list.

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“We’re very excited that the charter review commission decided to put into their charter language that if ranked choice voting were to become legally available to Cedar Rapids that they would launch a new commission immediately to look into potentially implementing it.”

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