Let’s consider ranked-choice voting to improve our elections

Especially in primaries, so many candidates are entering that there often is not a consensus around any one. Ranked choice voting could help create consensus.

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Voters in the 2020 election at a school on the West Side.

Voters in the 2020 election at a school on the West Side.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Thanks for the editorial “Give candidates who aren’t wealthy, or backed by the rich, a chance to be heard.” A good idea. Now, how about a piece on ranked-choice voting? Especially in primaries, so many candidates are entering that there often is not consensus around any one. Ranked choice voting could help to create consensus.

Here are questions that need answering:

  • In areas where there is ranked-choice voting, are voters happy with it? I know Maine has it, and I know there are other places that have it, too.
  • In areas with ranked-choice voting, how often is the eventual winning candidate different from the candidate who got the most first choices originally?
  • Is it confusing or time-consuming for voters? It need not be. They don’t have to vote for more than their first choice.
  • How much does it cost, in comparison with the usual system of going only with one choice?

Eleanor Hall, Hyde Park

A better system of public funding

The recent editorial regarding campaign financing for candidates without personal wealth or sponsorship is a non-starter. Your solution depends on public funding in a state whose financial situation makes that a luxury we cannot afford.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of 350 words and may be edited for clarity and length.

Instead, what would work is a constitutional amendment that places the right of the voting public to a full hearing of candidates’ positions above the individual candidate’s right of free speech. With this conflict resolved, election campaigns in which any public resource is used should then be exclusively funded from a common campaign fund established for each office.

All campaign donations would be made only to the common campaign fund for the office. Self-funding would be prohibited. A wealthy candidate who wanted to spend $1 million on their campaign would need to contribute enough money to the common fund so that every other candidate in the race received $1 million as well. Candidates could still have fund-raisers, but the funds would go to the common campaign fund.

This solution would place all candidates on an equal footing; free incumbents from having to cater to the interests of donors; end the financial influence of lobbyists; make it possible for every citizen to run for elective office; and end the financial advantage of incumbency.

Further, it would unmask contributions to incumbents for what they always were, bribes.

David Eppenstein, Hickory Hills

Regarding Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin would be making a major miscalculation if he decides to invade Ukraine. Even if his military overwhelmed Ukrainian forces, opposition to the Russian incursion would continue by other means such as guerrilla warfare.

As a member of the Chicago Council of Foreign Affairs, now known as the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, I had the pleasure of seeing the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, on April 4, 2005, at a packed Palmer House Hilton.

Accompanied by his wife, Chicago native Kateryna Chumachenko Yushchenko, he proclaimed to the enthusiastic crowd, “I am particularly happy that the Ukrainian nation has risen from its knees.”

Witnessing the patriotic fervor of hundreds of Ukrainians inside and outside the Palmer House that evening, I am convinced that even if the Russian military attacked and occupied Ukraine, it would only be a matter of time before resilient Ukrainians rose from their knees again.

Larry Vigon, Chicago

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