Election Integrity Experts Warn of Dangers of Ranked-Choice Voting
As the 2024 presidential election approaches, election integrity experts are warning that ranked-choice voting poses perhaps the biggest threat to free and fair elections, noting that left-wing activist groups are heavily funding an effort to spread the practice throughout the country.
Ranked-choice voting is an election method in which voters are asked to rank their top candidates in order from most preferred to least preferred, with votes for lower-performing candidates reassigned to surviving candidates until one candidate reaches a majority of votes. Advocates of the method say that it gives voters more choices and leads to campaigns that are more focused on issues, but critics say it’s a confusing and complicated method that “allows marginal candidates to prevail who are not the choice of the majority of voters,” among other concerns.
Observers are also alarmed by the types of activist groups who have been backing ranked-choice voting. Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center, recently told The Washington Times that “megadonors” supporting the method include the George Soros-backed Open Society Foundations, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign fundraiser Katheryn Murdoch, and former Obama fundraiser and Democratic donor Katherine Gehl, among others. While Walter acknowledged that some Republican megadonors have also backed the method, “It’s overwhelmingly a crusade funded by left-wing Democrats.”
As of now, about 50 cities and counties across the U.S. use ranked-choice voting, a notable increase from just 10 cities that used it in 2016. In addition, Alaska and Maine currently use the method for statewide offices as well as the presidential election in November. In response to the rapid expansion of the method and concerns over fairness and transparency, a number of states are considering banning the election practice, including Georgia, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma.
Jason Snead, executive director of the Honest Elections Project, is one expert who believes ranked-choice voting is among the biggest threats to free and fair elections. Last week, he joined “Washington Watch” to give an overview of what he believes are the most critical reforms that are needed in order to properly safeguard election integrity.
“[W]e on the Right have been arguing about clean voter rolls and voter ID for so long,” he noted. “… [But] the very top item in our report is that every state should ban ranked-choice voting. This is an entirely different way to run an election. Instead of voting for a single person in a race, you now rank multiple candidates. You gather up all the ballots, and when you tabulate the results, you run them all through a machine. And if no one gets over 50% of the vote, you start eliminating candidates and redistributing ballots until you manufacture a phony majority. This is a new scheme that is being pushed all across the country.”
Snead continued, “The Left is spending tens of millions of dollars on lobbyists and consultants from the Right and on ballot measure campaigns. In fact, this year alone, we could see a dozen states face ballot measures in November to bring ranked choice voting to elections in their state, which means this could be the year the Left permanently changes the way Americans choose their leaders.”
Snead went on to reiterate Scott Walter’s concerns over the influence that left-wing megadonors are having through “private election funding schemes.”
“[W]e’ve got to get ahead of the new private election scheme called the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence,” he contended. “This is a repeat of ‘Zuck Bucks’ from 2020, with a new twist to get around the laws that states have put in place to ban private election funding. It’s active in more than a dozen election offices in our country right now, including in places like Missouri and Arizona. We need to get ahead of that with a new round of bans to make sure that we’re cutting off not just the flow of money, but the flow of liberal influence and politics into our election offices.”
Snead continued, “We also need to be looking at the influx of foreign money, which the Left is addicted to. And they use particularly hundreds of millions of dollars from a Swiss billionaire named Hansjörg Wyss to push their political agenda to influence American politics and to help win ballot measure fights and even candidate races across the country.”
Snead concluded by arguing that high voter turnout and election integrity are not mutually exclusive.
“If you want people to participate, the easiest way to do that is to show them that we have secure elections,” he underscored. “That’s why when Georgia passes a law that the Left slams as ‘voter suppression’ and ‘Jim Crow 2.0,’ you actually see turnout go up and you get presidential level turnout in the early voting despite everything that the Left says. The bottom line is that people … want accessibility and convenience, but they also want security and confidence in the results of elections. … [T]he public wants rules and procedures and safeguards in place to protect their vote and make sure that elections are being chosen by qualified, eligible voters so that we can trust those results.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.