Elections

How ranked-choice voting can give people more say in government and potentially fix Washington's gridlock

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Can Ranked-Choice Voting Save Washington

For years now, politicians have been telling the American public that gridlock in Washington is standing in the way of delivering campaign promises. With so much at stake, from health care to education to Social Security, more than just ideological differences standing in the way of social change. At times it seems like the whole system is set up to fail, but two researchers are claiming that the industry that spent $6.5 billion in 2016 and $5.73 billion in 2018 is flourishing.

Katherine Gehl, a former business executive who advocates political reform, told CNBC that her research with Harvard Business School's Michael Porter determined that "the political-industrial complex works very well together in one particular way, and that is to rig the rules of the game to protect themselves jointly from new competition. I often say that looked at another way politics isn't broken. It's fixed."

A movement has been growing across the country to change how the system works. Voters in places like Maine, San Francisco, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, are allowed to rank their choices in order of preference on the ballot instead of voting for only one person. Initial surveys of ranked-choice voting in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, show voters are more satisfied with the conduct of local campaigns than in similar cities with plurality, winner-takes-all voting, according to a recent report by Western Washington University's Todd Donovan and colleagues, "Campaign civility under preferential and plurality voting." Could ranked-choice voting save Washington? Watch the video to find out how an initiative that both late Senator John McCain and former President Barack Obama supported could help or hurt our democracy.