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Ranked Choice Voting Maryland

Ranked Choice Voting Maryland (RCV Maryland) is a nonpartisan, grassroots coalition seeking to build a more effective, representative democracy through ranked choice voting elections. We are a collective of activists and supporting organizations seeking to modernize Maryland's voting systems at the city, county, and state level. RCV Maryland formed to galvanize public and political support for better voting methods after a history of crowded primaries, a lack of fair representation, and low plurality winners.

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When Nevada held its primary in February, voters were allowed to cast ballots early and rank their preferred candidates.

Why ranked-choice voting should be a part of the coronavirus elections fix

Richie is president and Daley a senior fellow at FairVote, a nonpartisan electoral reform group that promotes ranked-choice voting. This month Daley published "Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy" (Liveright).

So much has changed in American life, and so quickly, that it's hard to believe it's been just four weeks since former Vice President Joe Biden shocked Sen. Bernie Sanders with a rout on Super Tuesday.

A race that had been unsettled for months, seemingly bound for a brokered convention, shifted decisively in Biden's direction over the course of just 72 hours. Several competitors exited the race and offered their endorsements, strong performances across the South gave him a large delegate lead and then Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren gave up as well.

Imagine for a moment that it hadn't worked out that way. Imagine Tom Steyer got closer to Biden in South Carolina, and Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar pressed on. Suppose Bloomberg's early momentum continued and it was only Warren who dropped out, prompting progressives to consolidate behind Sanders against a still-fractured field.

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Ohio officials delayed their presidential primary at the last minute and are now looking at sending out mail-in ballots to all those who have not yet voted.

Coronavirus impact continues to ripple through state elections

The coronavirus pandemic continues to ripple through the nation's electoral system.

While there's a two-week break in the presidential contest, judges and state officials have made another series of decisions in recent days designed to make voting easier and safer while the nation is largely locked down.

Registration for the next major Democratic primary, in Wisconsin, has been extended. The next two congressional special elections will be conducted by mail, and it's likely that so will much of the Ohio primary postponed last week at the final hour. The number of states with postponed presidential primaries moved toward nine. Runoffs in four states have also been delayed, while petition drives to get referendums on the ballot in two states were put on hold.

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Many California voters cast their ballots in advance of the Super Tuesday primary on March 3. Hundreds of thousands of those ballots supported candidates who withdrawn by primary day.

1.6 million votes 'wasted' on Democratic also-rans so far. Would RCV help?

The growth in early voting has exploded in recent years with more opportunities to cast ballots in person or by mail, and thereby avoid lines on Election Day.

But a downside to the convenience has been exposed by this year's Democratic presidential contest, where an ocean of votes have been cast for candidates who dropped out by the time primary day arrived.

FairVote, a nonpartisan group that champions ranked-choice voting, is highlighting these "wasted" or "lost" votes — saying most of them would not really be squandered if the alternative election method was embraced, allowing Democrats to signal support for several candidates including the two who remain viable.

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People who voted early or by mail in Super Tuesday states were unable to change their ballots after Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out. If RCV had been in place, those ballots wouldn't have been wasted, writes Tyler Fisher.

The reform that could have saved a million ballots

Fisher is deputy director of reforms and partnerships at Unite America, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to "enacting structural political reforms and electing candidates who put people over party."

More than 1 million ballots were spoiled on candidates who had already left the presidential race when 14 states voted on Super Tuesday. Three major candidates had ended their bids following the South Carolina primary that was held three days earlier — but early voters and those participating by mail had no way to change their vote in most states.

In-person early voting and vote by mail are common sense reforms that increase voter turnout, especially in primary elections; we encourage these types of reforms that expand the electorate by reducing barriers to participation -- but we can make the system better.

The answer is a simple change to how we vote: ranked-choice voting.

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