The KC chapter has joined with the Joplin chapter in endorsing and committing to Government By The People's effort to allow 2018 voters to decided whether to make Ranked Choice Voting the method by which statewide candidates are elected in Missouri. This follows in the successful footsteps of Maine, which achieved this change by ballot initiative in 2016 with support from most of the political parties. Government By The People is a non-partisan coalition in Missouri working to put a number of measures on the 2018 ballot.
The KC chapter recognizes that our "Winner Take All/First-Past-The Post" voting system is a major obstacle to responsive democracy in this country. The winner in this system is the candidate and party gets the most votes even if that isn't over 50% of the voters. As a result, elected official can end up representing an electorate where the majority of voters doesn't want the official in power.
Because the goal is to get the MOST votes, this system sorts voters into two large groups voting primarily to keep the other one out of power instead of voting for a vision of a better society. People are afraid to vote their consciences for fear of splitting one of the two large coalitions and giving the election to the coalition or candidate they like least. People feel trapped into voting for the "lesser evil" of two parties and candidates they feel don't adequately represent them.Choice is severely restricted. This dynamic allows the two major parties to increasingly take voters for granted and rely on fear of the other party to make their case rather than having actual policy discussions. This situation peaked in the 2016 Presidential election. For more information on this voting system see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7tWHJfhiyo
One alternative system that is in use in some places around the world and in the USA is Ranked Choice Voting or Instant Run Off Voting. This system allows voters to rank their choices in order of preference and requires the winner to get over 50% of the votes. If no one gets over 50%, then the lowest ranking candidate is eliminated from being counted and her voters' 2nd choices are counted in the next round. This continues until a candidate gets over 50% of the votes. In this way, no one's votes can be seen as "wasted." The Green Party of the United States platform lists as a goal, switching to this voting system for executive branch candidates. For more information on this voting system see: http://www.fairvote.org/rcv#how_rcv_works
To put this measure on the 2018 ballot, we will have to collect around 200,000 signatures (the required amount plus cushion) by May 6, 2018 across Missouri. You can read the RCV ballot language, print the petition, and instructions here: https://governmentbythepeople.org/ranked-choice-voting-2/ To get involved in the KC Chapter's petitioning effort, please email [email protected]