A Two Party Country? Really?
Dave Helling writes in his Nov 13 column that Greg Orman’s poor showing in the Kansas Governor’s race was “. . . because we’re really a two party country.” I respectfully disagree.
Orman’s “poor” showing was because Americans voters’ choices are restricted by the kind of ballot 49 of the 50 states use for state wide races. If you were a Kansas voter whose first priority was to keep Kris Kobach from becoming Governor of Kansas, then the smart move was to vote for Kelly. With the ballot Kansans were using, a vote for Orman was a vote for Kobach.
Even with that, Kelly was only a plurality winner with 48% of the vote, not the 50% plus one or better of a majority winner.
The situation in the General Election was caused by that same winner take all ballot in the August Primary election. 59,000 Republican voters voted for someone other than Kobach and Colyer, but were prevented by that ballot from weighing in on a final choice between the two for the Republican nomination.
Oh, and before you Missouri readers start feeling superior, let’s remember that the disgraced and just resigned Eric Greitens won the 2016 Missouri Republican nomination for Governor with less than 35% of the vote. 65% of Missouri Republican voters voted against Greitens, but were unable to consolidate their opposition because of the ballot used.
In contrast, Maine voters rose up to say they would no longer tolerate having to vote for the lesser of two evils and the resulting plurality winners they found unsatisfactory. They demanded, fought for and got Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). This election saw their first use of RCV in a general election and the results were a success. Maine voters overwhelmingly say in exit polls the system is easy to understand and use.
If you want to vote based on who you want to win, including independent and third party candidates, rather than who you want to keep from winning, (and to have majority winners once the voting is done) then it’s time to tell your newly elected legislators that you want to follow the example of Maine. Tell them you want RCV in your state.
A good place to find information about RCV and other needed voting reforms is to look at web sites such as TheCenterStrikesBack.org and FairVote.org.
Larry R. Bradley