| Harrison Cann | City & State PA |
The recount kerfuffle that resulted from May’s bitterly fought Republican primary for U.S. Senate ruled the headlines until its resolution earlier in June. Even with Dave McCormick conceding to Mehmet Oz, one statistic stood out for its plurality: Oz won that primary by garnering under 32% of the vote statewide.
We’re always told the most popular candidate is the one that wins the election, but that’s just not the case.
Oz isn’t alone either, as several legislative primaries in the state were won by a candidate who received less than a majority of votes this year.
And while most people would agree that a majority winner is better for democracy, not everyone agrees on the best way to determine one. Members of the grassroots organization March On Harrisburg – known for their efforts around the Capitol on gift ban legislation – are making ranked-choice voting a priority, as well.
Whether or not there’s broad support for ranked-choice voting in the commonwealth, proponents say it doesn’t have to be a partisan issue. Armin Samii, ranked-choice voting policy and research lead with March On Harrisburg, said the McCormick-Oz brouhaha is just one example of how the Republican Party could benefit from ranked-choice voting.
“It gets very hard for the entire Republican Party to get behind the candidate in the general (election) when in the primary, they won with only 30 to 35% of the vote,” Samii said. “We’re always told the most popular candidate is the one that wins the election, but that’s just not the case. And ranked-choice voting points out that contradiction, where you can have remarkably unpopular candidates get through these really crowded fields.”