| Bill Laytner | Detroit Free Press |

To improve voting in ways that Canada and other nations have done — make it less rushed, less costly to taxpayers, less repetitive and more open to minor candidates — there’s a movement underway. This fall, two new approaches are getting attention in Royal Oak and elsewhere around Michigan:

Ranked choice voting has other advantages, too. It’s a time and money saver because it can eliminate the need for holding both a primary and a runoff election. It’s sometimes called instant runoff voting. On November ballots in Royal Oak, as well as in East Lansing and Kalamazoo, residents will see a referendum asking whether they want their city to offer ranked-choice voting.


The other new approach to voting in Royal Oak is just an idea, so far, but it’s a question on the city’s November ballots. Voters will be asked whether their city should allow ranked choice voting. Volunteers gathered 3,000 signatures to put that question on city ballots, said Ron Zimmerman, an East Lansing resident who heads the nonpartisan, nonprofit RankMiVote. Ranked choice voting, wherever communities approve it, brings more people out to vote, gives third-party candidates a boost, and reduces negative campaigning because candidates don’t want to alienate anyone who might make them a second choice, Zimmerman said. It can even save taxpayer dollars by eliminating some primary elections.

Besides being voted on in Royal Oak, ranked choice voting is on ballots this fall in East Lansing and Kalamazoo. When offered to residents of Ann Arbor in 2021, and those in Ferndale in 2004, ranked choice voting got a thumbs-up. Yet, the system has never been implemented anywhere in Michigan, Zimmerman said. (It was used in a 2019 City Council election in Eastpointe under a federal lawsuit settlement.)

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