By J. Christian Adams
This November, a ballot initiative could fundamentally transform the way Nevada conducts its elections. Question 3 on the ballot, could impose ranked choice voting. Nevadans should vote no.
Ranked choice voting is a system where voters rank candidates before an election. If no candidate gets 50 percent according to voters first choices, then the voters second choice is taken into account to decide the winner.
For example, pretend one candidate receives 42 percent of the vote, another gets 41 percent, and a third candidate gets the rest. No one reaches 50 percent-plus one according to voters’ first choices. So, the third candidate’s votes are thrown out.
It is a confusing system designed to help some politicians at the expense of others.
Here’s the worst part – voters are denied the right to vote for one of two finalists in the head to head race.
Ranked choice voting ultimately protects establishment candidates with high name recognition.
Don’t believe me? Consider Alaska. In 2020, the state passed a ballot measure to enact ranked choice voting. Project Veritas caught the incumbent U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) campaign staff taking credit for changing to ranked choice voting to help her reelection.
Josiah Nash, Murkowski’s Campaign Interior Coordinator was caught on camera saying, “Between you and me, Ballot Measure 2 was actually created — I think it was created for two reasons. Number one, it was created because there were people in this state who wanted to see a better system, but they also wanted Lisa to get re-elected.”
It gets worse. The Senator’s Campaign Coordinator, Emma Ashlock, said “while we were working on Ballot Measure 2 and voting for Ballot Measure 2, we had Senator Murkowski in mind the whole time.”
Ranked choice voting was put in place to help Murkowski win.
Ranked choice voting manipulates the political system. It denies voters the right to vote in the real true election – the choice between the two finalists. In a ranked choice system, voters never cast a ballot in the real head to head final contest.
If ranked choice voting is enacted in Nevada, it will benefit establishment candidates throughout the state. Ranked choice voting gives the illusion of a diverse ballot selection while ultimately consolidating power at the final balloting rounds. It thwarts the will of the people and confuses voters.
Nevada should stay with its current election system that allows voters to select the one candidate they most want to win the election. It’s a system that has worked for well over 150 years. I urge Nevada voters to vote “no” on question three this November.
The problems the state had in its election process in 2020 were related to automatic vote by mail.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation, of which I am President, found that in Clark County alone over 92,000 mail ballots were returned as undeliverable meaning they were sent to the wrong addresses and never reached their intended recipient. This is extremely alarming since President Biden only carried the state by a little more than 33,500 votes.
There were also mail ballots found blowing in wind on the side of the road.
Despite these failures, the state will still send all registered voters a mail ballot before Election Day.
Nevada does not need ranked choice voting. What it needs is an overhaul of its vote by mail system.
J. Christian Adams is the President of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a former Justice Department attorney, and current commissioner on the United States Commission for Civil Rights.