Readers React: California can simplify the Democratic primary by adopting ranked-choice voting

Delegates to the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco earlier this month.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: California’s presidential primary next year ought to offer the state a great opportunity to show the nation the advantages of preferential voting (sometimes called ranked-order voting). (“California Democratic 2020 presidential primary is a wide-open race, poll finds,” June 13)

This form of balloting allows voters to express their second and third choices as well as their first. The mechanics are simple.

In this case, the two dozen or so candidates for president would be listed, each opposite three columns of boxes. The first column would be for their first choice, second for second and third for third. Boxes would be filled in as usual and easily read by a machine. The three choices would be weighted, with the first counting the most (say, a value of three), and the second more than the third.


The fact that in your poll Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was the second choice of the majority of those polled emphasizes how important ranking is in a truly fair election. It’s time to lead the way.

Russell Doolittle, San Diego

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