Wouldn't it be honorable to modernize Oklahoma elections to eliminate election runoff costs and give each person a more equal vote?
Let me try to veil this next sentence into an objective statement, in order to be tactful.
If the absolutely LAST person you would have voted for is elected to some public office, you'd be a fan of Ranked Choice Voting. Think of Ranked Choice Voting as your vote sliding over to your second choice if your favored candidate is last in voter popularity and no other candidate got a majority. In Ranked Choice Voting, you vote for your first, second and third choices. If no one gets a majority, the voting machine "makes another run" to pull out the lowest ranked candidate, and those who voted for the candidate with the least votes get their ballots moved up to whichever candidate they selected as number two preference.
Seven states have this "Instant Runoff" voting system in place. Three more states are in the process of implementing something similar. The beauty of Ranked Choice Voting is that the most undesirable candidate never wins. Voters don't put all of their eggs into one basket. The idea has been around a while, and is catching on. Maine uses it. Every state West of Oklahoma has considered some form of Ranked Choice Voting, as has every state on the East Coast.
Ranked Choice Voting is an easy, intuitive concept. Can it be gamed? Sure. Coalitions win. It promotes broad-issue candidates over single-issue candidates. That's probably a good thing. Some say that Ranked Choice Voting leads to the election of moderates. I'd say rather that RCV leads to election of candidates with a broad base of support, and leads away from electing single-issue candidates. Oklahoma lawmakers have not considered Ranked Choice Voting. Maybe it is because the party in power has benefited from an unfair institutionalized advantage and doesn't have the charity to take a look at a more just system.
Here's another one: I wish for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a measure circulating in various states to give the state's electoral votes to the candidate who wins the nationwide popular vote. Two presidents narrowly missed governing because the Electoral College process accumulates all of a state's votes to its victor, rather than prorating its votes between the top two vote-getters.
States with a disproportionately high number of electors in relation to population can overweigh the votes of disproportionately less-represented states, too. That's how five presidents in the history of the U.S. took office despite losing the popular vote. Recent Presidents Bush and Trump won over Gore and Clinton because swing states were heavily wooed, while some solid states were not even visited.
It is boggling to the layman to consider the constitutional ramifications of NPVIC. But since 1929, when Congressional seats became a fixed maximum, suppressed "equal representation" has caused folks to cast about for an alternative to the undue weigh afforded states that have not grown as much. 55 percent of Americans want to end the Electoral College. A 2015 poll found that 71 percent of a statistical sampling of Oklahomans supported popular vote, and a bill to that effect was passed in the state house and introduced in the state senate, but apparently didn't reach floor vote. I have this notion that the Oklahoma legislature is where good ideas go to die. Maybe it is the strong influence of special interests in Oklahoma, or how weakly we foster candidates who understand the social good. Sometimes these abstract ideas just go right over their heads. Yet hope springs eternal.
Kathy Tibbits is a Cherokee citizen, attorney and artist living at Lake Tenkiller.