Voters Choose works through organizing communities to change their city, county, state, and federal elections by shifting to a Rank and Add voting system. By reforming voting procedures, we will improve voter representation, change the way campaigns are run, and effect real political change. By the 2020 election, Voters Choose will have grown into a network of local communities with representatives and supporters in all age groups, identities, states, and political positions. In this way, we will have the capacity to move toward changing elections.
As a team of advocates, researchers, and youth leaders, we commit to the following values:
Communities come first: We connect with local residents in order to inspire civic engagement and empower them to channel that energy into political change, such that they can advocate successfully for any reform they desire.
Honest, researched work: We conduct transparent research for everyone in our community to know and understand and advocate for proposals that function most optimally for our constituencies and their contexts.
Offer more than owed: We give of our time, resources, and abilities generously in the hope of a better future, and affirm each other’s efforts by supporting each other’s work.
Open heart, open mind: We relish feedback, criticisms, and suggestions in the hopes that we can advocate effectively, and listen to our communities’ concerns so that our team can work compassionately.
Stay committed to goals: We persevere in the face of skepticism, cynicism, and personal challenges, in the faith and knowledge that our success lies in our ethic, and not our outcomes.
Exceed expectations: We pursue excellence in all that we do and establish our own yardstick for the leaders we seek to become.
We believe that by implementing Rank and Add by organizing communities in local elections will ensure:
- Better Elections — The single vote, single winner system used in the United States is called First Past the Post (FPTP) by political scientists. In FPTP you elect the single candidate with the most votes — even if they don’t win the majority of votes. Rank and Add forces candidates to campaign differently: to achieve broad appeal and to represent the priorities preferences of as many voters as possible. Not only that, Rank and Add is easy to understand and easy to implement.
- Better Candidates — FPTP limits the field of candidates who have a chance of winning, because it adds a major advantage to the candidates with the most visibility, regardless of their platform. That makes it very difficult for candidates who aren’t “typical” to have a chance at getting elected — no matter how valuable their ideas are. Rank and Add shifts the priority to candidates who have policies that broadly appeal to voters, and it ensures that minority and underrepresented candidates have a chance.
- Less Partisanship — In an FPTP system, there is no incentive to win over any voters beyond the narrowest group needed to win. Unfortunately, that means it often incentivizes partisanship and overrepresentation of the extremes. Rank and Add changes the incentives and rewards broad representation, not divisive partisanship.
- More Civic Engagement — The FPTP structure of modern elections has created a political climate which discourages voter turnout. Rank and Add will change that, by boosting voter power and agency. Voters Choose is dedicated to increasing civic engagement in every area we work in, through organizing communities, education, and advocacy.
Strategies – Organizing Communities
Voters Choose focuses on community organizing through our chapters. Each chapter seeks key areas for education and reform, including implementing Rank and Add, and uses our strategies for organizing their communities.
- Research local politics and elections and how they may be positively affected by Voters Choose reforms.
- Educate residents and local stakeholders about their electoral system and elections and ways they can be improved.
- Connect with local community groups, including service groups, churches, PTAs, neighborhood watches, etc.
- Collaborate to elicit help and support through personal networks and online outreach.
- Organize to receive the endorsement of local, state and federal officeholders.
- Establish a volunteer base to engage in canvassing and local events.