The benefits of ranked ballots
1. Real Majority Winners
Under our current system, a candidate can (and often does) "win" an election with less than majority voter support. That means that most people didn't vote for them - but they won anyway! With Ranked Ballots, voters are respected, because candidates must have support from a true majority of their constituents.
How can a false majority happen? Imagine three similar candidates for mayor that the majority of voters would be okay with and one somewhat extreme candidate that 80% of voters would definitely not want. If votes were evenly split between the three similar candidates, the somewhat extreme candidate could become mayor with only 21% of the vote under our current voting system. This would not happen with a ranked ballot
2. Better Platforms and Civil Campaigning
Under our current system, candidates often try to make each other look bad with personal attacks on their character. With Ranked Ballots, candidates want to be your second or third choice if they cannot be your first, so they're less likely to attack the other candidates for fear of offending the voters who support them. Rather, they'll try to win your support by compromising or incorporating other candidate's good ideas into their own platform. This means more talk about positive solutions and a more respectful debate.
3. No Strategic Voting
Under our current system, voters often vote strategically in order to prevent the candidate they don't like from winning. Under our current system, people often spend more time talking about potential vote splitting then they do talking about the issues. Headlines are dominated by stories about who is dropping out, who is stealing votes from who, etc. With Ranked Ballots, there is no such thing as vote splitting so you can always vote with your heart - not your calculator. If your first choice candidate is eliminated then your vote goes to your second choice candidate. You don't vote against something, you vote for something!
4. More Choice for Voters
Under our current system, candidates are often discouraged from running or staying in an election race in order to prevent vote-splitting. New and eager candidates are asked not to run by their own colleagues so as not to harm the perceived front-runner. This is particularly true for underrepresented groups such as women, visible minorities, youth, etc. This is NOT the experience we want new candidates to have. With ranked ballots, candidates who represent the diversity of constituents are more likely to be welcomed and encouraged resulting in more voter choice, better campaigns, better engagement and results that better reflect voter preferences!
5. Choice in How to Vote
With a ranked ballot, those who want to continue our current first past the post voting, are free to vote for just one candidate. But others would now have the choice to rank as many candidates as they choose.