Breaking News
More () »

'We want choice': Local groups rally for ranked choice voting

Under ranked choice, voters choose candidates in order of preference.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A group of state and local organizations rallied at the State House Monday in hopes of making voting as easy as one, two, three in the Palmetto State. 

They support overhauling the U.S. electoral process by moving to ranked choice voting. 

Under ranked choice, voters choose candidates in order of preference. If nobody gets more than 50 percent of votes, the one with the fewest first choice votes is eliminated. Those votes go to the candidates listed as a second choice. That process continues until one candidate has the majority. 

Supporters of ranked choice say it gives voters better, more inclusive representation and less polarizing campaigning. They also say it saves millions in taxpayer dollars by preventing runoff elections. 

Andrew Yang, the former Democratic presidential candidate who is working to create a new third party, the Forward Party, was in attendance. 

"In an instant runoff, every vote counts. You can make your voice heard and you can vote for the candidate you like without quote unquote messing it up or wasting your vote," said Yang.

Democratic Rep. Germaine Johnson (D-Richland) said he is introducing a bill in the next couple of weeks that would create this new voting system in South Carolina. 

"I think ranked choice voting will allow us to get rid of those dreaded runoffs we all deal with and allow us to save millions of dollars that we can put towards something else like roads and infrastructure," said Johnson. 

According to the state election commission, the cost of conducting a statewide June Primary runoff can cost up to $1.5 million.

Opponents argue the voting method is unnecessarily complicated or it leaves more room for errors and fraud. 

"It's about setting up a system that people can choose the people that they actually want to lead them, not force them into making false choices, with a system that, by the way, is also subject to chaos," said South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick. 

62 jurisdictions have adopted the voting method, including Alaska and Maine in statewide races and New York City for local races.

Yang acknowledged the movement faces an uphill battle. 

“We’re going to have to find ways to translate this message to people so they get it,” said Yang. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out