Ranked-choice voting best way to choose winners in Illinois primariesLetters to the Editoron June 11, 2021 at 4:54 pm

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The winner of the Democratic primary for secretary of state could be the preferred candidate of just barely 20% of the voters. This is stupid.

Five candidates, so far, are running in the Democratic primary to be elected Illinois secretary of state. The winner in the primary, who would move on to the general election, could prevail with as little as 21% of the total primary vote.

That is not only absurd; it is stupid. You would hope the candidate with the widest support wins the primary, but under this system 4 out of 5 voters could prefer someone other than the winner.

The system is broken. It works only when you have no more than two candidates in a race.

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A better way is that if nobody gets over 50% of the vote in a primary, you have a runoff between the two top vote-getters to see who really has more support among all Democratic voters.

But wait. That’s exactly what Chicago did in the last mayoral race. Fourteen candidates ran in the first round. Then a runoff election was held between the two top vote-getters — Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle — though neither of them had received more than 18% of the vote in the first round. I’m sorry, but that was wrong.

Chicago and Illinois could instead use ranked-choice voting in primary elections, which allows voters to list all the candidates they could support — not just one — in order of preference. We then would know on the first day of voting who is the best candidate — the one who truly has the most support among the voters — without having to go through the time and expense of a runoff election.

I have no vested interest in ranked-choice voting. I am just tired of seeing elections declaring winners who didn’t win anything.

Larry Craig, Wilmette

Neutral names only for roads and schools

I think renaming Lake Shore Drive for Jean Baptiste Point DuSable is a bad idea, but not for the reasons most people are giving. Yes, it would cost money. And yes, I understand the motivation for wanting to rename the road for DuSable. But all this is short-sighted.

Public property should have neutral names that all citizens can relate to. Public property should not be named in ways that simply reflect who has political power at the moment. It makes people resentful. It creates ethnic and racial divisions. Lake Shore Drive is a neutral name that everyone can relate to.

I would also rename the Kennedy Expressway, making it the Northwest Expressway. I would change the Eisenhower Expressway back to what it once was called, Congress Expressway. And while we’re at it, I’d give public schools new names based on location — or give them numbers. This would really demonstrate social equity.

Jeffrey Rovner, West Rogers Park

If eight beatitudes, why 21 school board members?

Why are people proposing 21 members for an elected Chicago school board? Why are there 50 aldermen, for that matter, on the Chicago City Council?

There are Eight Beatitudes, There are Nine Stages of Hell. There are Ten Commandments.

Can’t we find a number in that range for the size of an elected school board and the City Council?

Michael Sullivan, Avondale

Declare guns state of emergency

I found it disturbing that your otherwise fine editorial about children being shot (“Saving our city’s children from gunfire”) hardly dealt with guns. The sole mention was: “We need to do a better job of keeping guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.”

Of course. But is that all? Gun violence is clearly a long-term problem, as you say, but we cannot wait another decade, another year, another month, another week, not even another day to halt this carnage.

As I have written before to this newspaper and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, we need to get guns off the streets. I believe the mayor and the City Council should proclaim a state of emergency and require the re-registration of all guns within the city under strict regulations. To start with, no one under 21, no one with documented mental illness and no one convicted of any gun violation could register a gun. No military guns could be registered. With exception of hunting guns and antique gun collections, the number of guns to any single registrant would be limited to a given number. This is not a definitive list, simply an opening suggestion of restrictions.

I urge the mayor and City Council to explore all legal avenues under a formally declared state of emergency. Let the National Rifle Association go ahead and counter-attack. We’ll take it all the way to the Supreme Court and pray!

Martin Deppe, Ravenswood Manor

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