I was first exposed to ranked choice voting when I was working in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia in the late 90s. There was a nationwide parliamentary election and within the district where I lived, there were several dozen candidates for the local seat.
Under our voting system, in such a case, it is conceivable that a candidate with less than ten percent of the vote could go to the legislature. But under ranked choice voting (sometimes referred to as “instant runoff”), the voice of the voter was more clearly enunciated.
Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16) recently introduced a bill to bring ranked choice voting to New Jersey. Since in his other life Zwicker runs the Science Education Department at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, who better than he to explain it to us.
I recently interviewed him in his district office and he explained ranked choice voting, how it works in Maine where it was recently used, how it would work in New Jersey, and the status of his nascent bill.
Tomorrow: A brief conversation with Dr. Zwicker on the confluence of science, politics, and education.