So, why is Ohio Senate Bill 137 set to ban RCV?
By DemocracyIssues.com, an Ohio-based Voter Rights initiative
A small group of Ohio politicians are leading an anti-democratic effort that
continues to take away voting rights of targeted segments of citizens in
order to increase their own power and control of State government.
This is another effort from these anti-democratic politicians that follows
their failed attempt to grab more power by deceiving voters about the real
purpose of Issue 1 that was on the August 2023 ballot.
These politicians have now introduced Senate Bill 137 that is aimed at
banning Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) in the State.
With all of the issues facing Ohio citizens, how can banning a pro-democracy
voting reform be a priority for the State’s Legislature?
Ranked-Choice Voting is Pro-Democracy, Majority Rule
To win an election, Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) requires a candidate to have
broader voter appeal in order to obtain a majority of the total votes cast.
With the current plurality system and multiple candidates in a contest, an
election can be won with far less than the majority of the votes, since in a
plurality contest it only takes the most votes to win.
In an RCV contest, instead of voting for one candidate, voters have more
choices, and simply rank their top selections. For example, even if a
voter’s favorite candidate does not win, their 2nd choice may be victorious.
How RCV Works
If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the first tabulation round,
the candidate in last place is eliminated. Then, in any tabulation round
that follows, the secondnd choice votes that were cast by an eliminated
candidate’s supporters are distributed to the remaining contenders until one
candidate obtains a majority.
With Ranked-Choice voting, candidates are more civil and respective of each
other as they need their opponents’ supporters to rank them high in their
Vote Splitting Results in Minority Rule
Primary contests for each political party can have a large number of
candidates running. With a large number of candidates splitting the votes,
it takes less votes and a lower percentage of the total to win. A candidate
can win a crowded primary field with less than 40 percent, or even far less than 30 percent of the total votes cast.
Vote Splitting can Favor Extremist Politicians
According to The Center for Election Sciences, for elections involving seats
to the U.S. House of Representatives from 2010 thru 2020, “Out of the 427
new members who won primary challenges . . . 38% . . . earned less than 40%
of ballots cast.”
Data provided by Rank the Vote provides important insight into this issue.
On January 6, 2021 in the U.S. Congress, the infamous vote was conducted to
overturn the results of a fair presidential election. Eighty-one (81) of the
members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted against certifying a
fair election had each entered Congress by winning their primary election
with less than a majority of the votes cast. And 62 of these
House of Representative members won their primary election with less than
40 percent of the votes cast.
Thus, well over 60 percent of the voters in the election districts of these members of the U.S House of Representatives voted against each of these 62
Extremist Politicians use Vote Splitting in Gerrymandered Districts
In gerrymandered districts, when there is a large field of primary
candidates with similar views, an aggressive and extremist politician is
able to stand out. And with a crowded field of candidates splitting the
votes, a primary election can be won by an extremist politician favoring
autocratic laws and policies that stands out from the field and who only
needs to obtain a relatively low percentage of voter support.
As a result of the increase in gerrymandering, the number of districts where
the majority political party has dominant control have significantly
expanded during the past decade. Candidates in the minority party have
little chance of winning the general election in a gerrymandered district
that has been intentionally structured through wrongful map drawing to
insure the majority party’s victory.
As the example above involving the 62 U.S. House of Representative members
confirms, there have been many anti-democratic, extremist politicians who
have used the deliberate strategy to run in a crowded primary election field
in a district that has been gerrymandered by the majority party. They know
that winning the majority party’s primary election, even with a low
percentage of the total votes cast, almost always guarantees winning the
Voting Reforms will Thwart Anti-Democratic, Extremist Politicians
Current efforts with Senate Bill 137 by anti-democratic, extremist
politicians in the Ohio Legislature aimed at banning Ranked-Choice Voting
are designed to limit the power and choices of Ohio voters and to retain
gerrymandered election districts.
Voting reforms that end gerrymandering, such as an Ohio Independent
Redistricting Commission (that is planned on the ballot in November, 2024),
will force anti-democratic, extremist politicians to run in districts where
the outcome of the general election is not predetermined. They will no
longer benefit from rigged election district maps that insure victory by the
political party that drew the map.
And voting reforms such as Ranked-Choice Voting (that favor candidates with
broader voter appeal) will combine with reforms to end gerrymandered
election districts that will both assist to Protect Democracy’s Future.