To the Editor:
Ranked Choice Voting has gained substantial momentum in Connecticut recently, particularly among the Nutmeg State’s youngest voters. Just 27 percent of Gen Z voters in Connecticut cast a ballot in the 2022 election cycle, reflecting a stark lack of enthusiasm for participation in our democracy. Considering the non-competitive nature of the vast majority of elections in Connecticut, it is not particularly surprising that young voters are unconvinced that their vote has a meaningful impact. A number of Gen Z voters from the left, right, and center are enthusiastic, however, about Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for its potential to restore competition in our elections and expand voters’ freedom of choice at the ballot box. As a Gen Z voter, I am working with CT Voters First, a nonprofit launched last fall, to engage fellow students and new voters behind RCV.
Growing up in an era of hyperpartisanship and political instability, fewer Gen Z Americans now identify with either the Democratic or Republican party than any previous generation. Americans have broadly checked out from the two-party system, but Gen Z in particular is notable for its political independence. As Connecticut lawmakers push for a state voting rights act to protect our right to vote, CT Voters First is urging that they also consider the value of what they are protecting. Non-competitive elections remove incentives for lawmakers to even listen to their constituents, since they already know they will win re-election based on their party affiliation. We cannot expect young voters to be enthusiastic about voting and democracy when they know the outcome of every election before it happens. RCV will restore competition to our elections which will, in turn, restore incentives for our lawmakers to listen to their constituents. It gives voters the freedom to vote their conscience without fear of “spoiling” an election or “wasting” their vote.
CT Voters First strongly encourages lawmakers to prioritize RCV this session in order to preserve the integrity of our democracy for years to come. To Gen Z voters, RCV promises a vibrant, cooperative, and hopeful vision for the future.
Culotta, Guilford resident, is organizer with CT Voters First, and state co-lead of the Forward Party of CT