Professor McDaniel Discusses Complexities, Fallacies of Ranked-Choice Voting

Thursday, February 06, 2020

GOVERNING -- Ranked-choice voting is more complicated than expressing preference for a single candidate, says Jason McDaniel, a political scientist at San Francisco State University who has studied the method.

It’s also unlikely to result in some sort of broad consensus among the electorate against more ideologically extreme candidates who can get elected under plurality voting, he says. Other methods that held out the promise of promoting more moderate candidates, such as California’s top-two primary system, which sends the top two primary vote getters on to the general election, regardless of party, have failed to result in the election of more moderates.

“If people want to adopt ranked-choice voting because they want to ameliorate partisan polarization, I think they’re probably going to be disappointed by the results,” McDaniel says.