What's wrong with elections in DC?
Problems with elections in DC:
- Communities split their vote & weaken their collective community power.
- Candidates can win with less than 50% of the vote.
1) Communities split their vote & weaken their collective power.
Under our current system, when similar candidates run for the same race they weaken their community's power. If multiple candidates have a similar vision, they have to fight each other instead of uplifting each other and their shared values. This worsens political displacement and turns voters off.
In general, our current elections punish voters for voting their values. We are forced to strategize and pick a candidate based on inside-baseball and guessing about "electability", rather than simply choosing the person we most believe in. A voter may believe in one candidate the most, but is worried that they don't have a chance of winning and may be wasting their vote.
People don't trust a system that won't let them vote their values.
2) Candidates can win with less than 50% of the vote.
Candidates are not incentivized to build coalitions and campaign across the city because they can win while only turning out existing and more extreme voters.
Let's say five candidates run for office, and the vote looks like this:
- Dr. Cherry Blossom: 29%
- Kelsye Gogo: 21%
- Ana Costia: 20%
- Adam S'Morgan: 18%
- Howard "Mumbo" Sauce: 12%
In this scenario, Dr. Cherry Blossom wins with only 29% of the vote, which means 71% of voters chose someone else. Does Dr. Blossom actually represent the people? We can't know unless we know the backup choices of the other voters.
Since voters can only vote for a single candidate under our current system, elections become zero-sum ego games that reward the candidates who run toxic smear campaigns against their opponents.
How do we fix our elections?
The good news is there is a solution. It's called ranked voting, or Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).