| Matt Vasilogambros | New Jersey Monitor |

Over the past decade, ranked choice voting has become increasingly popular. From conservative Utah to liberal New York City, 13 million American voters in 51 jurisdictions — including all of Alaska and Maine — now use the system, under which voters rank candidates based on preference, leading to an instant runoff in a crowded race.

This year, Democrats and Republicans in power pushed back.

Nothing for conservatives to fear

Arguing that ranked choice voting is too complicated for voters to understand, Democrats in the District of Columbia and Republicans in states such as Idaho, Montana and South Dakota took steps to prevent adoption of the voting system.

But there is nothing for conservatives to fear about ranked choice voting, said Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

It’s not a ploy by Democrats, he said, contrary to what he’s heard from Republicans. The Virginia GOP even used ranked choice voting in 2021 to nominate now-Gov. Glenn Youngkin, he pointed out in an April column.

“If you look at the history and how it’s worked, you realize that it’s neutral between sides of the spectrum,” he told Stateline. “Finding a party candidate who better represents a wide range of voters in that party is good for whatever party adopts it.”

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