Rank Choice Voting Can Save US Democracy and Avoid the Two-party Dead End – Excerpt from Interview of Former Chief Justice of CA Supreme Court

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“Rank Choice Voting has a lot of pros to it”, said former Chief Justice of CA Supreme Court Tani Cantil-Sakauye In a discussion with Joanne Z. Tan.  Rank Choice Voting is a better and fairer way to elect a US President with more choices for voters during Presidential Primaries, explained Joanne Tan in her 1-hour-50-minute interview with Tani Cantil-Sakauye on June 24, 2024.

This short excerpt is about Rank Choice Voting that can save US democracy from the two-party gridlock and limitation for Presidential Primary elections, as discussed between President of PPIC (Public Policy Institute of California) Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who is also the former Chief Justice of CA Supreme Court for 11 years, and Joanne Z. Tan, host and producer of “Interview of Notables and Influencers”.

As we are watching the 2024 Presidential Election exposing the  limitations and flaws in the US two-party system, be mindful that the founding fathers of the US Constitution never intended to limit political parties to just two parties. Many current democracies in other countries have a parliamentary system with multiple parties and more diverse voices. Rank Choice Voting, as already adopted in American Gubernatorial and Mayoral elections, can save democracy by making elections more fair and better represented, and giving voters more choices.

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(To read the full transcript for the entire 1-hour-50-minute interview, click here. )


(Transcript of the excerpt on SCOTUS term limits, and age-based term limits for all federal offices, SCOTUS ethics rules. Emphases added.)

Joanne Tan:

Now Rank Choice Voting: It has been advocated by some very intelligent Harvard professors and political consultants. Rank Choice Voting is already used in some gubernatorial and mayoral elections. Can it be used in primaries for presidential elections? As advocated in a book “The Politics Industry – How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy”, by Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter, Harvard Business School professor.

Tani Cantil-Sakauye  1:23:35  

Hi, Joanne, thank you for inviting me. It’s a pleasure to be with you again. I think Rank Voting is, is, has a lot of pros to it.

I think the greatest issue with Rank Voting is people do not understand it entirely. And there’s a whole strategy behind how candidates will position themselves and advertise and campaign around rank stra…Rank Voting. And I think that we need to understand that, that has to be something that most voters, all voters, understand before they cast their vote and rank their votes in a Ranked Voting election. But I also think that while you think and talk about expanding it to a gubernatorial or higher level of office, I would, I don’t know this, I’ve not looked at it, but I’m guessing that there are probably certain enabling pieces of legislation that have to be enacted by our legislature, or by different states legislature, even by our Congress, to permit it to happen.

And what I also worry about Rank Voting is I think it can be complicated and it is strategic, and I would hate to see something like ranked voting cause voters to decide not to participate because they don’t understand it, because they think that they’re being… there is some campaign and strategy around it. We want to encourage more voters. So we shouldn’t make it more complicated for them to vote, and I wouldn’t want them manipulated in their vote either. That makes sense.

Joanne Tan  1:25:09  

Okay, so Rank Choice Voting is giving each voter more choices. It’s like among these candidates, they can be Democrats, Republicans, independents… you rank which one is your top choice. Let’s say there are five, top choice: number one; the last choice: number five. And if no candidates get 50%, then the next candidate will be calculated on the basis of the ranking by all the voters. So in this way, the effect is that we don’t have to be limited to just one party or the other party. So the… so all the vitriol, the partisanship of the two-party adversarial… It’s not adversarial, but two-party, this kind of, in my opinion, is just collapsing onto itself and not going anywhere for the past 30 plus years is avoided, so we can have a governing, functioning government.

We can educate voters about this. And in other states, governors have already been elected based on Rank Choice Voting. Mayors have already been elected based on Rank Choice Voting. So, so people there, they could understand it. And I’m sure most of the voters, if they spend a little time and with simplified education, they can understand the system. I really believe this is a very good and fair device. It gives people more choices, and the results are not two-party partisanship, okay, avoids the evil of that. 

© Joanne Z. Tan   All rights reserved.


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