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Nonpartisan group tries bringing Ranked Choice Voting to Ohio

Kyle Herman, wearing a Rank the Vote Ohio tank top and medal, poses next to two other people after finishing a marathon. Herman is the co-executive director of nonpartisan group Rank the Vote Ohio.
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Kyle Herman finishes the Akron marathon wearing a Rank the Vote Ohio tank top. He serves as the co-executive director of the nonpartisan group, which aims to bring ranked-choice voting to Ohio.

A nonprofit called Rank the Vote Ohio held an online event Sunday afternoon. The non-partisan organization says their goal was to educate Ohio residents on ranked choice voting.

Maine State representative Diane Russell was the keynote speaker. She got a ballot initiative passed in 2016, which enacted ranked choice voting for statewide elections. Maine became the first state to use this process.

Kyle Herman is a co-executive director of Rank the Vote Ohio, and says they’re trying to do the same thing here.

“Our current plurality wins system limits competition, and so it limits voter choices, and rank choice voting gives voters more rights,” Herman said.

In a ranked-choice system, voters rank all the candidates on the ballot instead of picking one. If no one wins the majority, there will be an instant run-off election. Herman says this eliminates the spoiler effect, where voters may feel torn between two candidates.

“Just last year, there was a congressional primary where a candidate won with only 37 percent of the vote,” Herman said. “I don't think people realize how limited our choices are by our current system and how often it is that we end up with candidates who don't have a majority support.”

The event was held on NationL RCV day, and is in collaboration with national groups like FairVote and Rank the Vote National.

Mawa Iqbal is a reporter for WYSO. Before coming to WYSO, she interned at Kansas City PBS's digital magazine, Flatland. There, her reporting focused on higher education and immigrant communities in the Kansas City area. She studied radio journalism at Mizzou, where she also worked for their local NPR-affiliate station as a reporter.