By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
Political primaries would become a thing of the past and ranked-choice voting would come to Missouri if voters approve a ballot initiative in November.
A group that calls itself Better Elections has gathered more than 300,000 signatures, which is more than enough to make the ballot. Certification is underway.
Better Elections spokesperson Scott Charton says the proposed constitutional amendment is aimed at improving Missouri elections.
“And it would give you more choices in elections,” Charton tells KFEQ/St. Joseph Post. “It would provide for better accountability of officeholders once they’re in office if they lose their way. And it provides better integrity in elections through some very sensible ballot security measures.”
Under the measure, both Republicans and Democrats would be placed on the same primary ballot. Voters could rank their choices, one through four, with the top four vote-getters advancing to the General Election.
Charton says the concept is easier to grasp than many might think.
“In a ranked-choice election, the goal is that the ultimate office-holder winner achieves 50% plus one or more of the votes,” according to Charton. “Why is that important? Well, voters feel ignored now. This makes candidates go out and campaign for every vote.”
The method isn’t widely used in the United States, but has been adopted by a few municipalities.
“This is a different idea. It’s a change,” Charton acknowledges. “Missourians, though, like the idea. When we’ve talked to them in every county where we’ve gathered signatures, they like the idea of more choices.”
Charton says the change would take power from the political parties and place it in the hands of the voters.
The security measures in the initiative include testing all electronic voting machines to certify them secure prior to elections, requiring a paper trail of individual votes, and including representatives of all political parties when paper ballots are counted and stored.
It also would require a special election to fill vacancies, rather than allowing for a gubernatorial appointment.
The group awaits certification for the ballot from the Secretary of State.
Click here for the Better Elections website.