WXXI AM News

voting

Ranked-choice voting is popular in other parts of the voting world, but not in the United States. That could change, if voter advocacy groups get their way. So how does it work? What are the possible advantages or disadvantages to ranked-choice voting? Would it change the outcome of presidential or other elections?

Our guests debate it:

  • Seth O'Bryan, teacher at the Harley School
  • Tim Kneeland, chair of the department of history and political science at Nazareth College
  • Jesse Lenney, western region political director for New York Working Families

Why do so few people vote? Last week, in primaries across the country, a very small percentage of voters decided to participate. New York State had particularly small turnout in most of its primary races. That has turned the spotlight on New York voting rules, including hours of voting, early voting, mail-in voting, registration, and more. Does something need to change? 

Our guests discuss how to improve voting access and enthusiasm. In studio:

Should the voting age be lowered to 16? It’s a question that has resurfaced over the last few days, as students across the country have spoken out about gun legislation following the mass school shooting in Florida. Advocates of lowering the voting age say that if students are already participating in politics and can work and drive, they shouldn’t be denied the civic responsibility of voting. Those against the idea say that 16 and 17 year olds are not mature enough to make informed decisions at the polls. Several U.S. cities have already lowered the voting age, as have several countries.

Will it happen across the U.S.? What should the national voting age be? Our panelists debate the issue. Our guests:

  • Dylan Holcomb, senior student-activist and mindfulness facilitator at Brighton High School 
  • Sam Topa, freshman at McQuaid Jesuit High School
  • Zosan Soong, senior patent counsel at Xerox Corporation, and parent 
  • Mary Lupien, RCSD teacher
  • Tim Kneeland, professor and chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Nazareth College 

Voting reform remains a challenge to overcome in the U.S. and in individual states. According to the League of Women Voters, New York ranked 41st in voter turnout in 2016, with just more than 57 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots.

While many people choose not to go to the polls, systemic barriers prevent others from voting. The League of Women voters is holding a forum on the topic next week. We preview that forum and discuss a number of issues related to electoral reform. Our guests:

Election Day has arrived and a Gallup poll finds that six in ten Americans want to abolish the Electoral College; they want the popular vote to determine the presidency. How do you feel?

In Washington state, two designated electors say they will not vote for Clinton in the Electoral College, even though Clinton is expected to win the state. What does that mean? One scenario has Clinton and Trump tied with 269 electoral votes each, but if those two electors stay true to their word, they face only a $1,000 fine and could become the most popular people in the country.

We talk about the Electoral College, what happens today, and we hear from voters who are still undecided. Our guests:

  • Kathleen Donovan, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at St. John Fisher College
  • Tim Kneeland, professor and chairperson, Department of History and Political Science, Nazareth College
  • Dan Becker, undecided voter

Donald Trump is continuing to claim that the election will be rigged if he loses, and that voters can't trust the process. There is, of course, no evidence to back him up. But millions of voters are listening.

We talk about why Trump's ominous remarks are a threat to democratic stability. And we discuss why we can, in fact, trust the process, and the remarkable people who help protect our elections. Our guests:

President Obama said recently that he'll consider it an "insult" to his legacy if black voters don't turn out in large numbers in November. Right on cue, Colgate Rochester Divinity's fall lecture series includes a discussion on the 2016 African American political vote.

We sit down with the man giving that presentation, Colgate President Dr. Marvin McMickle.

Forget the presidential election. Why don't Americans get more involved in local politics? Why don't they vote in primaries, or organize, or care about down-ballot races?

The presidency gets most of the attention, but the down-ballot races impact our lives on a daily basis. So maybe it's time to change the fact that many Americans don't know who represents them in various levels of government. Our guests:

On this primary day, we sit down with a mathematician who studies voting.

Donald Saari looks at voting theory in particular. Saari can explain how a state like Wyoming can have power over a state like California or New York, thanks to the Electoral College. The issue is, he says, how often can a group make the crucial difference? In the U.S. Senate, 49 Democrats have nothing close to equal power to 51 Republicans, because of the power distribution for the majority. Perhaps not even Nate Silver has studied the math of voting as intently as our guest:

  • Donald Saari, distinguished professor of mathematics and economics at the University of California Irvine

Monroe County Executive-elect Cheryl Dinolfo joins us for a brief discussion following her victory. And we spend the hour looking ahead with leaders in the Democratic and Republican parties. Our guests:

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