Flaws of Ranked-Choice Voting Topic of Vegas Seminar

Kevin Dietrich

The perils of ranked-choice voting will be highlighted at an upcoming seminar being put on by Nevada Policy and other organizations.

The Dangers of Ranked Choice Voting: a Grassroots Seminar will be held 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Dec. 1 at the Ahern Hotel & Event Center, 300 W. Saraha Ave. in Las Vegas. It is open to the public.

The featured speaker will be Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony, and other speakers include Nevada Policy’s Bob Zeidman. Groups taking part in the Dec. 1 seminar are the Voter Reference Foundation, Heritage Action for America, Honest Elections Project, America First Policy Institute, Save Our States and American Constitutional Rights Union, in addition to Nevada Policy.

Ranked-choice voting, or RCV, seeks to dramatically alter Nevada’s one-person, one-vote system. It will be on the ballot in the 2024 election, and if it passes it will exponentially complicate Silver State elections.

Ranked-choice voting is a problematic method of selecting officials that was tried and ultimately dropped by many American cities a century or more ago. Among reasons RCV was rejected was that RCV often resulted in widespread frustration and confusion among voters.

The 2024 ballot item, called the Nevada Top-Five Ranked Choice Voting Initiative, would require voters to rank the top five candidates in order of preference when casting a ballot. This, instead of our current system of simply choosing the individual who it is believed would do the best job.

If no candidate gets a majority of votes the individual with the fewest votes is eliminated and votes cast for that candidate are redistributed to whomever is ranked next on each ballot. This process continues until one candidate has a majority of votes.

Ranked-choice voting has many flaws, including requiring voters, ideally, to have informed, well-researched opinions on each candidate, no small feat when there are five candidates per race.

There are concerns that RCV could discourage voters who don’t feel knowledgeable enough to make informed decisions about all those running for office in all the races, along with individuals whose first language is not English and younger voters less familiar with the electoral process.

Finally, there is concern that voters could inadvertently disenfranchise themselves because of the complicated nature of RCV. If a voter chooses to select just one candidate or doesn’t rank all the candidates, it could result in an exhausted ballot. Exhausted ballots aren’t included in the tabulation, meaning the voter no longer has a say in that race.

Kevin Dietrich

Kevin Dietrich

Kevin Dietrich joined Nevada Policy in 2022.

He has more than 20 years of experience in communications, including serving as the director of communications and marketing for the South Carolina Bankers Association, working as a speechwriter for South Carolina governor Mark Sanford and assisting with internal communications for CVS Caremark.

Kevin graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in Journalism and a minor in History. A fifth-generation Californian, he spent a decade as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, New York, New Hampshire and South Carolina.