Authored on September 27, 2020

To the editor:

While I personally support ranked-choice voting, I understand how others disagree.

Rather than repeating common arguments, I want to offer a different perspective on why I support ranked-choice voting.

You don’t have to be a huge history lover like myself to appreciate the fascinating history of voting. I appreciate how America has tried to make voting more inclusive, as well as how America has experimented with how elections are conducted.

The most famous examples are arguably the 15th Amendment (1870), which prohibited racial discrimination when determining voter eligibility, and the 19th Amendment (1920), which gave women the right to vote.

There are other examples too. Prior to the 12th Amendment (1804), the candidate with the most electoral votes became president, while the runner-up became vice-president. The 17th Amendment (1913) allowed for the direct election of senators.

The states removed poll taxes and literacy tests prior to the 24th Amendment (1964), which were often used to disenfranchise voters, primarily black Americans and poor Americans. The 1864 presidential election saw the widespread use of mail-in voting for soldiers fighting in the Civil War, and individual states like Wisconsin passed laws allowing absentee voting for state elections, too. Soldiers voted during World War 2 and the Korean War, and soldiers serving abroad today can vote by mail.

All these examples were contentious when they were introduced, and I don’t want to conflate federal laws with local processes. My overall point is that many important moments in U.S. history have revolved around who gets to vote and how, at the federal, state and local level.

I think it’s great that so many care about voting and want to preserve voting integrity. Ranked-choice voting isn’t destroying how we vote, or inviting corruption. Instead, ranked-choice voting is the next step in making voting more participatory and representative by giving citizens a better way to choose our elected officials.

Adam Rusinak