Common mistakes in ranked choice voting by pedro graterol
The midterms are almost here! That’s why it’s very important to remember how to effectively participate with the new ranked choice vote system. As a reminder, in Alaska the vote is ranked! This means that now you don’t have to vote only for one candidate, instead, you can rank them all according to your preference!
The counting is a bit different. It’s done through tabulation rounds. First, we count the first-choice votes. If a candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, they win, and the process is over. If not, the second round of tabulation begins. The candidate in last place is eliminated. If you voted for this candidate as your first choice, your vote will be added to your second-choice candidate. This repeats until a candidate wins a majority of votes and wins.
The ballot also has a different appearance. You will see 5 columns listing the rankings from 1st to 5th and lines with each candidate. To mark your vote, fill in the circle in each line according to the rank in which you want to put each candidate. If you make a mistake, you can always ask for another ballot, but it’s important to review some common mistakes to avoid making them.
1. Avoid skipping ranking columns! If you do so, your next choice goes up in rank. This means that if you skip the second-choice column, the candidate that you mark as your third choice becomes your second choice and so on. 2. If you skip two columns, only the columns ranked before the skip are counted. 3. Avoid ranking candidates in the same column, this invalidates this ranking and the ones that come after. 4. If you mark one candidate in multiple columns, then your vote will only count in the first tabulation round. 5. If you want to vote for an unlisted candidate, fill their name in the “write in” column and rank them in the column of your choice.
You don’t have to rank every candidate but doing so makes your voice better represented. Let’s rank and participate in the upcoming election making the best out of the benefits we get from the ranked choice voting system!
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