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Could ranked choice voting make elections more equitable? Washington may find out

By February 21, 2021February 22nd, 2021News


Advocates say it empowers voters and results in more equitable representation. Critics say it’s confusing and costly to implement.

Ranked choice voting, in which voters rank candidates by preference, has gained momentum. Supporters include household names such as Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.

Kamau Chege heads the Washington Community Alliance, which oversees a project called Washington for Equitable Representation, a coalition of about 25 organizations that back the bill.

“It’s only by avoiding the will of the people … that white supremacy has been able to inscribe itself into our institutions,” said Chege in a phone interview with McClatchy.

There are often “shadow primaries” in communities of color, Chege said, with the belief only one candidate can run from a given community or risk splitting the vote. Kelsey Monaco, a recent graduate of Saint Martin’s University in Lacey who has been coordinating much of Washington for Equitable Representation’s work, said ranked choice voting could allow more candidates of color to win.

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