| The Editorial Staff | Post and Courier |
We have urged cities, particularly North Charleston, to ensure their municipal elections reward candidates with the broadest base of support rather than simply whoever gets the most votes on Election Day. At the same time, we understand the reluctance to embrace a runoff system that costs taxpayers extra and often generates an even lower turnout.
There’s a better way, and we urge state lawmakers to give cities the option of adopting it.
This isn’t as radical as it might sound…
That way is known as ranked-choice or instant-runoff voting, which has been embraced by two states and 56 cities.
Unfortunately, South Carolina cities and towns don’t have that option under current state law. A bill was introduced earlier this year to give them that option. It didn’t pass, and we urge state lawmakers to pass a similar version when they return to work next year.
Of course, we would like to see lawmakers also change to ranked-choice voting for the primaries before our general elections. This isn’t as radical as it might sound when you consider that since 2006, ranked-choice voting has been used by South Carolinians who live overseas or serve in the military. Given the logistical difficulties of sending them runoff ballots in time to be returned by the runoff election day, they are allowed to effectively cast their runoff ballots at the same time they cast their primary votes. And it has worked fine.
Giving cities the option of using ranked-choice voting would not be as dramatic a change as enacting it statewide, but it would still be a positive step toward introducing a method here that promises to save taxpayers money, save voters time and reduce political division.