Voters are Frustrated
Politics in America has become incredibly divisive and unproductive. A central part of that problem comes from the limitations in how we elect our leaders.
Our current voting system breaks when there are more than two strong candidates (vote-splitting/spoiler effect). This problem breeds fear of more choices: New candidates shy away, voters compromise. We enact laws to limit who can advance to the final ballot.
The result: divisive campaigns, anti-competitive behavior, frustrated voters.
The Solution: Voting 2.0
America has a long tradition of innovating our way out of problems. Our Founders embraced political innovation and expected us to keep our system of government up-to-date in addressing the challenges of our times.
Voting 2.0 is the term we at Better Ballot Iowa use for a package of political reforms aimed at giving voters more voice, restoring healthy competition, and strengthening accountability in our representative system.
The first two steps in our formula for Voting 2.0 are:
Choose Better: Adopt a voting system that can find the most-preferred candidate when there are more than two strong choices. Ranked Choice Voting is a widely-used voting system by 63 jurisdictions and over 13 million US voters over the last 2 decades. It has supporters across the political spectrum. Instead of picking just one candidate, the voters rank who they like in order, maximizing the power of their vote
Open Elections to New Voices: Once we have a voting system that can handle more choices, we can change election laws to encourage and promote more candidates into the general election. Having more lively elections means that candidates need to listen to and appeal to a wider group of voters to win. New voices and new ideas will help us break the gridlock in mending our divided nation.
These are first steps, but not end-points for voting reform. There a many other possible innovations in the future of American politics. Not enough people are talking about them. We want to change that.
Even if lawmakers are unsure about any of the specific reforms we are educating voters about, we are happy to see Iowans simply engage in the question of "What is Your Voting 2.0?"
What are you doing to step out of your own party-loyalties and insecurities to make our political life more constructive and less toxic?
That question, that task is a challenge for all of us. But asking it is a huge first step towards a better politics in Iowa and America.