This year Benton County voters got to use ranked choice voting in their countywide elections for county commissioners. It allows voters to vote their values without the worry of vote splitting or supporting spoiler candidates. In the three-way race for commissioner I was able to vote for a Pacific Green with my first choice and for another candidate with my second choice. If none of the candidates wins an outright 50 percent plus one vote, and my first choice candidate finishes in third place, that candidate is eliminated and my second choice vote is counted for one of the two remaining candidates.
I like this ranked choice voting system as I can vote more honestly rather than worrying about strategic voting. I note that this system of voting is now used by the entire state of Maine, including the presidential race this year. A number of cities, including Oakland, California and Minneapolis, have used this system for some time now. Benton County is the first in Oregon to use this system, and Lane County could be next preceding the entire state adopting it.
Fair Vote is the country’s leading resource about ranked choice voting. You can learn more at their FairVote.org website. Benton County has a website specifically about this year’s ranked choice voting election at BentonBetterBallot.com. To learn more about ranked choice voting in Oregon, you can visit OregonRCV.org.