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One weird small-town political drama shows why America needs voting reform

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When the U.S. attorney perp-walked Jasiel Correia II last October, after delivering an indictment alleging that the young mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts, had defrauded investors in his software company and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on luxury cars, adult entertainment and paying down his student loans, his political career seemed doomed.

Sure enough, the city council quickly demanded Correia's resignation and declared “no confidence” in his leadership. Last Tuesday, 61 percent of Fall River voters agreed, and ousted the 27-year-old mayor in an election that combined a recall vote with a new mayoral race.

But even while Correia lost the first vote, he won the second. That’s right: Correia was recalled and then re-elected on the same day, barely outpacing a five-candidate field.

How could the same voters remove the mayor and then put him right back in office? It’s not the voters’ fault. Our winner-takes-all, plurality elections are to blame. And in Fall River last week, that system overrode the clear wishes of the citizens, allowed the mayor to remain in office while fighting more than a dozen counts of wire fraud and tax evasion -- and provided yet another example of why we need ranked-choice voting.

Correia’s opponents collected more than 6,000........

© Salon