The U.S. Virgin Islands Republican Party announced on Thursday night that former President Donald Trump had defeated former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley in their presidential primary race by a margin of 74% to 26%. This result has sparked a conversation about the current state of the primary process, with some voters and state parties calling for a change.

Dennis Lennox, executive director of the Republican Party in the U.S. Virgin Islands, believes that more states should have a say in the primary process, rather than just Iowa and New Hampshire. He hopes that the USVI’s use of ranked choice voting in their caucuses will make a difference. Under this system, voters rank their top five candidates in order of preference. The candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated, and their supporters’ votes are redistributed to their next preferred candidate. This process continues until two candidates remain, and the candidate with the most votes wins.

Lennox believes that ranked choice voting creates a fair and level playing field for all candidates, as there is no such thing as a wasted vote or a spoiler candidate. Even if a voter’s first-choice candidate is no longer in the race, their vote still counts as long as they have ranked a candidate who is still in the running. This eliminates the issue of wasted ballots for withdrawn candidates, which was estimated to be around 5,500 in New Hampshire’s Republican primary.

Deb Otis, the director of research and policy at FairVote, a non-partisan group advocating for ranked choice voting, argues that the current primary system is broken and needs to be reformed. She believes that ranked choice voting gives voters more voice and choice on the ballot, and could potentially keep more candidates in the race for longer. Currently, candidates are often pushed out of the race before voters in other states have had a chance to weigh in, leading to speculation about how their withdrawal will affect the remaining candidates.

Ranked choice voting is already being used in Wyoming’s Democratic primary, and Alaska and Maine have adopted it for their statewide and federal elections. Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows believes that it has increased voter participation and improved civility in politics in her state. She believes that ranked choice voting forces candidates to appeal to a broader base of voters, rather than just their own party’s base.  

Share This Article
Leave a comment