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Congressman: Ranked-choice voting could fix ‘broken’ election system

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 22: Voting booths are setup at the Yuengling center on the campus of University of South Florida as workers prepare to open the doors to early voters on October 22, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. Florida voters head to the polls to cast their early ballots in the race for the Senate as well as the Governors seats. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — House Democrats have introduced a proposal to fix what they consider a broken political system.

Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin says the Ranked Choice Voting Act would require states to adopt “ranked-choice” voting in primary and general elections for Congress beginning in 2022.

“Our politics is broken in different ways,” Raskin said. “The Electoral College is dysfunctional and out-of-date. It’s given us two popular-vote losers in the last five elections. We need to reform that.”

Ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to rank multiple candidates in order of preference, could be a solution, according to Raskin.

“Instead of just voting for one candidate in a five-person field, you would vote for all five—but you would rank them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,” he explained. “If somebody got a majority, if somebody got 53 percent of the vote, then they would just win. But if nobody did, you would drop off the fifth-place person and redistribute their votes.”

Raskin says too many politicians are getting elected to office without a majority of the vote.

“Our legislation would just require that congressional elections across the country—both the primary and general elections—use the rank choice voting method,” he said.

Ranked-choice voting is already used in the state of Maine and more than a dozen cities and towns around the country. But some believe the concept just simply won’t work nationally. The conservative Heritage Foundation says it’s a scheme to disconnect elections from issues and allow candidates with marginal support from voters to win.

“It’s not going to fix anything. In fact, it will make things worse,” the foundation’s Senior Legal Fellow and Election Law Reform Initiative Manager Hans von Spakovsky said.

Von Spakovsky says ranked-choice voting has many problems like voter confusion and disenfranchisement.

“We’ve had the same system of voting now for a long time and I think anybody who wants to change it has to make a very strong case that it’s a better system and I don’t think they can do that,” he added.

Raskin introduced the bill last month but it’s unclear if it will advance further.