Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the Democratic Primary within days of each other. Although I wasn’t particularly sad to see these candidates go, their egress has illuminated a chronic issue with our elections: early votes often won’t count.
The only solution is changing our current voting structure to a ranked voting system.
This would consist of voter ranking as few or as many candidates as you please in your preferred order.
So if your hypothetical ticket went Klobuchar, Buttigieg, Joe Biden, and the first two dropped, your final vote would go to Biden.
There are instances of ranked-choice voting already in place, and they do a great job of ensuring that your vote goes to a candidate you somewhat agree with, even if they aren’t your first choice.
That’s not the case in Long Beach.
Up until this point in the primary, if you have voted for any number of candidates who dropped out, including popular ones like Buttigieg, who won Iowa, you are SOL.
I voted early myself, and although my candidate is still very much in the race, that’s not true for many Californians. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to cast a vote for the candidate of your choice, only for them to drop out.
You may want to support another candidate who is, you know, still in the race, but you are locked in. Maybe when Buttigieg endorsed Biden you wanted to follow his suggestion.
Too bad, you can’t.
This even extends back to previous races. Buttigieg ran away with a bunch of delegates in Iowa, Biden didn’t. But he probably would have done much better if the current field of candidates was as it is today.
Essentially, the earlier in the race the higher the chance you will vote for a candidate who is later rendered irrelevant, in turn rendering your vote inconsequential.
This adds such a random element to elections that who you want to vote for, and who your vote actually supports don’t always line up.
This could even be applied to a national level with a point system. Take for example George Bush versus Al Gore (yes, I’m still bitter about that and I was barely cognizant in 2000).
The vote was split between Gore, Bush and Ralph Nader. Gore, who barely lost the vote by just over 500 votes, while Nader, a fellow Democrat, managed to scoop up almost 100,000.
Gore lost the state, and the election, because of that split in the vote.
Now if there was a ranking system in place, I guarantee that more often than not Nader voters number two pick would have been Gore.
Gore would have taken the presidency, it’s ultimately what the people wanted, (Gore did win the popular vote. Again: not bitter).
Besides getting rid of the electoral college, which should be the main goal for election reform, switching to a ranked vote is the best thing we can do for our democracy.