Wasted votes are a bipartisan problem: in 2016, more than half a million ballots were wasted on the Republican side, many cast by military personnel and overseas voters. In Arkansas, Missouri and Vermont, the number of wasted votes exceeded the margin of victory.
Ranked choice voting can also help ensure election outcomes best reflect the will of voters. In states that award all their delegates to the statewide winner, ranked choice voting ensures whoever wins actually has majority support. In states where candidates must meet a 15 percent viability threshold, ranked choice voting allows more candidates to get there, lessening the distortion between voter preferences and delegate allocation.
Finally, ranked choice voting would be a meaningful upgrade of the caucuses still used in many states. Caucuses solve a real problem in American politics by allowing voters to cast a second- place vote, removing the fear of supporting their favorite candidate if they may not have a chance. Yet, caucuses depress turnout and disenfranchise voters by requiring voters to show up in-person for hours on Election Day. At minimum, states with caucuses should allow voters to vote early or by mail with ranked choice ballots.