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Ranked choice voting could work in a Lake County community – Chicago Tribune

To the editor:

A nearly 30-year resident of Lake County and lifelong resident of Illinois, I’ve watched local and national politics develop into polarization and gridlock. If you, like me, are wondering why things can’t be different; they can be.

This month, our Cook County neighbor Evanston voted to adopt ranked choice voting (RCV) in their local elections. One of the most attractive aspects of RCV is that, by allowing voters to express their preference among all the candidates running for a particular office by ranking them, RCV incentivizes candidates to appeal to the most voters possible in order to rank as highly as possible with Alles.

Candidates in an RCV system cannot afford to spew nasty rhetoric at any group in order to appeal to their “base” because, under RCV, the “base” for every candidate is the entire voting community. Other significant RCV benefits include: candidates win with at least 50% of the vote by providing an “instant runoff” when no candidate exceeds that threshold initially; “instant runoff” saves time and money; and, since no one under RCV is a “spoiler” candidate, RCV elections provide more diverse and inclusive candidates representative of the communities involved.

In adopting RCV, Evanston joins at least 20 other US cities as well as the entire states of Alaska and Maine. A wonderfully diverse and culturally rich community like Waukegan is a natural leadoff hitter to adopting RCV, but there are other diverse and sophisticated communities in Lake County. Who will be first to adopt RCV?

Laura DeSpain

Round Lake, IL

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