Mark Cuban Is Talking About Ranked Choice Voting
Billionaire industry titan Mark Cuban has a solution for the ongoing Speaker dilemma is the US House: Use ranked choice voting.
“Is there a better commercial for Rank Choice Voting than what is going on with the Speaker's vote in the House?” Cuban tweeted Thursday. “The current system, from primary to generals to speaker voting, empowers the extremes to the expense of constituents. Time to change.”
This is not the first time Cuban has spoken in favor of ranked choice voting. He praised election pioneer Katherine Gehl for her book, The Politics Industry, in which she offers ranked choice voting as part of her Final Five Voting solution to the lack of competition and accountability in elections.
He has also supported previous campaigns across the US to adopt ranked choice voting’s use.
The 118th Congress started its term on January 3. However, the Freedom Caucus within the Republican ranks has kept Kevin McCarthy from winning the floor vote to become next Speaker 11 times as of Friday morning.
The GOP holds a slim majority in the House. All 212 Democrats have consistently voted for one of their own, which means a small handful of Republicans -- whose ideas and talking points fall on the ideological extremes -- have the power to hold the speakership hostage.
It's the consequences of hyper-partisanship and minority rule in US elections on display for Americans to see. Cuban believes ranked choice voting is an ideal solution to wrest disproportionately allocated power away from the extreme few.
A ranked choice ballot gives voters the option to rank nominees/candidates in order of preference (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc.). If no one has a majority of first choice selections after the votes are counted, the last place candidate is eliminated, and their voters’ next choice is applied to the results.
Additional rounds of runoff are conducted in this manner until a single candidate has over 50% of the vote. It is a way to hold runoffs instantly without the need for additional elections – or in the case of the Speaker’s race, additional ballots.
Ranked choice voting is easily the most popular nonpartisan reform offered in the US today. At the time of this writing, it has reached 62 jurisdictions representing 13 million voters, including two states: Alaska and Maine.
Nearly every time ranked choice voting has been put before voters, it has won, and in many cases, it has won by tremendous margins. And most voters who use it say it is simple, fair, and easy.
In the case of the Speaker's race, there is no guarantee lawmakers would rank nominees, especially if they have their own agendas, but the 2022 Speaker vote is enough to show voters what a fiasco US elections have become.
It may be a stretch at the moment to think this intra-party struggle will set a record for longest Speaker election (set in the 34th Congress at 133 rounds), but it is looking like the 1620 Speaker race, which went to 22 rounds.
One thing is for sure: The House cannot conduct any business until a Speaker is chosen. This goes beyond gridlock. Congress is broken entirely. But it must be said that a broken Congress is the result of broken elections.
As Cuban said, it’s time for change.
About the Author
Shawn is an election reform expert and National Editor of IVN.us. He studied history and philosophy at the University of North Texas. He joined the IVN team in 2012.