The surprising problem with ranked-choice voting

Seth Godin | February 9, 2021

By every measure I can think of, ranked-choice voting is a superior way to hold a modern election. When a group of people want to decide something at the national or even the organizational level, having everyone rank their options is a net positive.

The mechanics are much easier in an age of computers. If one option comes out ahead among the majority, you’re done. If not, throw out the least favorite outcome and recount, using the second choice of people who had voted for the eliminated candidate. Continue the process of elimination and recounting until you have a candidate that is the most acceptable to the most people.

This process tends to reward candidates who are less divisive and more willing to listen to multiple points of view. It also leads to an outcome that is easier for more people to live with.

The surprising thing? In a recent primary in New York, some people had trouble with the new method. It’s not that the method of voting is particularly difficult. The problem is that we’ve trained ourselves to be RIGHT. To have “our candidate” and not be open (or pushed) to even consider that there might be an alternative. And to feel stress when we need to do the hard work of ranking possible outcomes, because that involves, in advance, considering acceptable outcomes that while not our favorite, would be acceptable.

This is hard work that’s worth doing.

And we don’t have to wait for a public election to do it. It’s a fine way to organize our choices not only in small groups, but on our own.

Click here to read the article on Seth’s Blog