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| Jeff DeGarmo | The Oklahoman: Opinion |

Our military members make giant sacrifices in defense of our most American right — the right to vote. Yet for active-duty service members and their families, exercising that right themselves can be a nightmare. There’s a helpful tool that makes it easier for military voters to make their voices heard. It’s called ranked choice voting (RCV), or instant runoff voting, and it’s made the process easier for tens of thousands of military voters across the six Southern states where it’s used.

to empower patriotic Americans

Now, Oklahoma politicians are trying to put an end to ranked choice voting. The state Legislature is considering passing House Bill 3156 to ban ranked choice voting from being used in any way in the Sooner State. This doesn’t make a lot of sense. Right now, no jurisdiction in Oklahoma has even tried to adopt ranked choice voting. Banning it outright, however, would be a slap in the face to those Oklahoma service members and their families who just want to be certain that their vote in a runoff election arrives on time.

Oklahoma should instead follow the example of other Southern states that have used ranked choice voting to empower patriotic Americans to fully participate in our democracy. Service members and their families give up so much. The last thing they should have to sacrifice is their right to vote.

Jeff DeGarmo is an eight-year U.S. Navy veteran, Oklahoma native and founding board member of Veterans for All Voters, a nonpartisan organization of military veterans advocating for election innovation.

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