Ranked choice voting's big night

Brett Maney
Senior Communications Manager
Unite America
Team
11.4.2021

Not sure about you, but we’re riding a post-election high. 

Tuesday was a massive night for ranked choice voting, and for the incredibly hard working reformers across the country who have been working tirelessly to put voters first. 

A sincere congratulations — and thank you — to the individuals on the ground. These are the meaningful efforts that make up our movement. 

Here are three things to think about this week: 


  1. RCV’s big night

A record 31 municipalities used ranked choice voting for their elections on Tuesday — the most ever. In cities like Minneapolis, Minnesota and Santa Fe, New Mexico, ranked choice voting helped elect city councils and mayors. It was a historic election in Minneapolis, where candidates of color will make up the majority of the city council for the first time ever. 

Meanwhile, in the three cities where ranked choice voting was on the ballot — Ann Arbor, Michigan; Broomfield, Colorado; and Westbrook, Maine — voters overwhelmingly said yes to adopting the reform. It’s been a monumental year for ranked choice voting, and Tuesday demonstrates this momentum will carry well into 2022 and beyond. 


  1. How RCV played in Virginia

One of the marquis races of Tuesday was the Virginia governor’s race, which saw businessman Glenn Youngkin (R) defeat former governor Terry McAullife (D). There’s a lot that can (and is) being written about lessons both parties can learn coming out of Tuesday, but here’s one we feel they might be looking over: Youngkin was nominated using ranked choice voting

In order to win the Republican primary, Youngkin had to appeal to the majority of Republicans in the GOP convention, building a broad coalition helped to prove he could win in the general — in other words, using ranked choice voting made him a stronger candidate. From Utah Senator Curt Bramble and Colorado Representative Colin Larson (both Republicans), check out why reforms like RCV are worth examining for primary elections. 


  1. Easy(ish) listening

Finally, a podcast recommendation: this week on her Deep Dive with Laura Arnold podcast, philanthropist and attorney Laura Arnold sits down with democracy scholar Larry Diamond and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang to discuss structural reform and how to save our system. 

Polarization has slowly crept it’s way into our politics over decades, creating an almost stand-still in our politics. To reform the system, we need to solve the Primary Problem by doing things like enacting ranked choice voting and ending gerrymandering. But don’t take it from just us — listen to the full podcast here.

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