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Why Nov. 8 ballots might look a little different to restaurateurs in some areas

Working Lunch: Ranked choice voting is spreading quickly, and the result could be less polarization of the political process.

Voters in an increasing number of jurisdictions may encounter a new balloting format when they head to the polls on Nov. 8. This week’s edition of Working Lunch, the government-affairs-focused podcast, looks at how the system known as ranked choice voting could change the political scene.

As co-hosts Joe Kefauver and Franklin Coley explain, the process differs from traditional balloting in that voters rank the candidates in order of preference instead of indicating just their top choice. Candidates with the lowest tallies are eliminated from the field in subsequent ballots, and their supporters are then free to vote for the remaining entrants.

“There’s a payoff and incentivize for candidates to not viciously attack one another if they want on a third or fourth ballot to win the supporters of a candidate who was knocked off,” said Coley, a partner with Kefauver in the government-affairs firm Align Public Strategies.

Kefauver noted that the process tends to favor candidates with more centric political views, since they want to pull from eliminated candidates on both their left and right. Nominees on the margins limit their appeal from the start.

The pair noted that ranked choice voting resulted in the election of Eric Adams, who describes himself as a practical progressive, as mayor of New York City. Sarah Palin blames her loss in recent Alaska elections on the state’s adoption of the election process.

In addition to Alaska, ranked choice voting is currently used by Nevada, Hawaii, Kansas and Wyoming, as well as on a local basis.

In addition to recounting the implications of that change on the political front, Kefauver and Coley look at how the liquor industry is striving to reverse a loosening of alcohol distribution rules during the pandemic, a phenomenon that enabled many restaurants to offer cocktail delivery.

Download the episode and every installment of the weekly broadcast from wherever you get your podcasts.

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