Eureka residents to vote on Measure C: ranked choice voting in upcoming election

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EUREKA, Calif. (KIEM) — When Eureka voters fill out their ballots for the upcoming election, they’ll be asked to make a decision on Measure C: ranked choice voting.

Ranked choice voting has been used in parts of the United States since 1912. It saw a decline in the 50’s and 60’s before seeing a resurgence in the 2000’s.

“It really did challenge the status quo, the traditional way that people were used to having their representatives selected,” according to Nancy Kay from the League of Women Voters.

Now, it’s on this year’s ballot for Eureka voters. So, how does ranked choice voting work? It allows for voters to rank candidates in order of preference. All first choices are initially tallied. If a candidate receives a majority, they are elected. If there is no majority, the candidate who got the fewest first choice votes is eliminated.

“Those people who voted for that candidate, their votes are redistributed to their second choice,” Kay says. “Voters can vote for the candidate that they think is best and they don’t have to worry about the spoiler effect.”

Those who support Measure C say it provides more choice for voters and discourages negative campaigning.

“You might find that the candidates are more likely to speak to the issues because they are wanting at least some second choice votes,” according to Kay.

Those against it say it’s complicated and allows for non-winners to win.

“People are offended by this because it was a non-winner. It was a second place person who ended up winning because the third place person’s votes went to that second place person,” Kay says.

If Measure C is passed, the first regular election to use ranked choice voting would be in November of 2022. It will not affect ballot measures or any federal, state, county or district elections.