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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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San Francisco uses ranked-choice voting for its elections. According to Daley and Richie, RCV encourages a more civil race and gives candidates incentives to reach beyond their own base.

Ranked-choice voting has momentum and a track record of success

Daley is a senior fellow at FairVote, a nonpartisan electoral reform organization. Richie is FairVote's president and CEO.

Kansas Democrats wanted to increase participation in their May 2020 presidential contest and make the balloting fairer for everyone. The state's 2016 caucus seemed to go on forever: There were hours upon hours of speeches, followed by the laborious process of dividing into groups for each candidate and being counted one by one. Only then could participants begin often hours-long drives home.

Maine voters sought to protect their state's longstanding tradition of independent candidates and vigorous third parties, while also ensuring that winning candidates had genuine majority support. Nine of the state's last 11 governors, including Democrats, Republicans and independents, and dating back to the 1970s, won with a mere plurality. They wanted to retain all their choices, but also elect the winner with the widest backing.

Eastpointe, Mich., meanwhile, wanted to ensure that black voters elected their fair share of city government seats. The city needed to resolve a Voting Rights Act complaint filed by the Department of Justice that alleged Eastpointe's practice of electing local offices through citywide elections prevented black people – almost one-third of the population -- from winning. No black candidates had been elected to the city council or school board there prior to the DOJ complaint.

New York, the nation's largest city, also had a problem with representative elections. Since 2009, according to Common Cause, two-thirds of all primaries with more than two candidates were won by a candidate with less than 50 percent support. The city's new public advocate captured the office with just a third.

They all hit on the same solution: ranked-choice voting. Now everyone seems to be taking notice. Indeed, at least some voters in at least 25 states are now slated to cast RCV ballots in upcoming elections and primaries.

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