Ranked choice voting would hold politicians accountable

If we can rank our favorite foods, movies or songs, then we can rank candidates for political office in a primary.

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Residents walk past election signs for the June 28 primary outside Warren Park in West Rogers Park on June 13.

Residents walk past election signs for the June 28 primary outside Warren Park in West Rogers Park on June 13.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Congress has an approval rating of about 21% yet around a 90% re-election rate. Our partisan system removes accountability for our elected officials, who are meant to represent their electorate in City Hall, Springfield or Washington, D.C.

This is where ranked choice voting enters the playing field. We can have the choice in a primary to rank each candidate in order of preference, as opposed to the restriction of aligning ourselves with a candidate from a political party whose platform we do not agree with wholeheartedly.

Nonpartisan primaries would force candidates to adapt and address a diverse number of issues. Under the current system, Republicans and Democrats alike have been able to hyper-focus on a single issue to divide the electorate against each other.

The voice of the voter is not truly represented. We have been pigeonholed into being single-issue voters when our climate, energy independence, the cost of an education, universal rights and policy on income and health care equality are all intertwined.

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The establishment, which has benefited for generations from this acceptance and fostered a divide-and-conquer political strategy, will criticize ranked choice voting. One such criticism is that it’s too confusing and voters are better served choosing one candidate.

But if we can rank our favorite foods, movies or songs, then we can rank candidates for political office in a primary.

Ranked choice voting ensures checks and balances and is the solution to ensure candidates address a broad number of issues important to a sustainable future. The key word is choice.

Ervin Olson, Chicago

Keeping youth away from crime isn’t just a job for single moms

Recently, I read several writings by professors and attorneys on what government should do for young offenders after they commit a crime. None of these individuals have a degree in criminology. (I have studied criminology, but my degree is in criminal justice.)

Having worked on the streets of Chicago for 35 years, I have spoken with many thousands of individuals and dealt with thousands of crime victims. Real world experience.

It struck me that most of what these writers proposed were actions that should be taken by two loving, caring and moral parents, so their sons and daughters do not commit crimes.

Unfortunately, many households lack a father, stepfather or strong, moral male figure to guide a youth’s behavior. There is no one to tell the youth to go to school, do homework, stop playing video games for endless hours or hanging out with gang members. No one to cheer him or her on at their games.

Too many youths are raised by single mothers. On occasion, when a mother drops the ball, she may be arrested and charged with child neglect.

Well, what about the male (I refuse to call him a man) who knowingly fathers a child and neglects him or her all their life? There are no consequences for birth fathers’ total neglect, as there are for mothers who are occasionally negligent. Seems like massive discrimination against women to me.

Michael C. Flynn, retired Chicago Police lieutenant, Norwood Park

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