A couple of months ago, we wrote a piece explaining the importance of election reform initiatives that could be broadly beneficial if implemented. It is now clear that we need to reform the political system. The good news is two simple changes can happen within the systems we currently have to make for a more fair and inclusive process for candidates. If you are unfamiliar with these two initiatives, we would encourage and ask you to inform yourself about what they are and why they are important.
The first is Ranked Choice Voting (“RCV”). The idea of ranked choice voting is simple. Instead of picking one candidate for an elected position, you rank your interest in candidates. If one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, then they win and ranked choice voting doesn’t come into play. However, if one candidate does not receive 50 percent support, then the candidates are ranked and there is a runoff. We encourage everyone to watch this two-minute video, which explains how ranked choice voting works:
RCV helps even the playing field. It creates a system where the candidates’ qualifications and resume truly matter. RCV also helps take wasteful spending and attacks out of politics, which would be beneficial for the individuals running, their families, and our broader communities. It also promotes candidates working together on the campaign trail. It stops us from having only two choices in elections and makes it so third-party candidates have an actual chance upon throwing their hat into the ring. We need this to help better the trajectory of our state and country.
The second issue is opening our current closed and partisan primary system. Primaries are publicly funded. It should be the right of all people, regardless of party affiliation, to pick candidates that they wish to see in office. We realize for those who are members of a major political party this may on the surface seem unimportant or counter intuitive. While it may seem that way, it in fact will help to garner more qualified candidates and offer a more equitable process, which helps us all.
We all see how divisive politics have become in the nation. We need to change things and would like to see Connecticut leading the way. Maine has already instituted RCV, as have other areas. California and Washington have open non-partisan primaries and Louisiana and Nebraska have different, but equivalent processes. There are a growing number of initiatives to adopt non-partisan primaries also pending elsewhere.
These two initiatives will serve the greater good and help to secure a strong legacy for policy and politics in our state and country.
We have asked our locally seated representatives and those running for these seats for a commitment to these initiatives in the upcoming legislative session. We would encourage you to ask this of those running for state representative and state senator in your area. We believe these two changes will help improve the trajectory of current politics as we know it.
Mike Urgo – First Selectman, North Stonington
Danielle Chesebrough – First Selectman, Stonington