Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Ranked-Choice Voting Takes a Hit

Many political observers see ranked-choice voting as a way to get rid of the problem that tiny parties and fringe candidates can swing elections in ways that their supporters actually hate with a passion. Ralph Nader and Jill Stein come to mind here. Ranked-choice voting allows people to express their support for minor candidates without electing someone they can't stand. It definitely solves a real problem. It is gradually becoming better known, with Maine and Alaska adopting it in various forms.

However, it also took a hit last Saturday in Virginia when the Arlington County Board decided to scrap the system it was planning to introduce in November. Last fall the board voted to use the system in the Democratic primary for two open seats on the board. But after criticism of how it worked and voter confusion about it, the Board decided to stop the experiment and use first-past-the-post henceforth.

The board members were concerned that not all members of the community understood the system or why it was being tried. County Board Chairman Christian Dorsey (D) said: "While I don't really see it as proper and appropriate for the general election, I do hope everyone will agree for later this year or as soon as possible to this again for next primary season." Actually, he has it completely backwards. It isn't really needed in a race in which everyone is a Democrat or everyone is a Republican. It is needed to keep a fringe candidate on the far left from throwing the race to the Republican or a fringe candidate on the far right from throwing the race to the Democrat. (V)

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