In anticipation of Election Day next month, the bassist has been campaigning to raise awareness for ranked-choice voting, a system that allows voters to select several candidates and would even the playing field with third-party and independent candidates. Several U.S. cities, including Minneapolis; Portland, Maine; and the Bay Area, have implemented the practice. The state of Maine has a measure on its ballot, which, if passed, would establish ranked-choice voting as the state’s system for electing candidates running for U.S. Senate, Congress, Governor, State Senate and State Representative.
Novoselic – who works with the organization FairVote, which seeks to make the political process more democratic – recently stopped by Rolling Stone to discuss why he’s in favor of the voting style and to reflect on Nirvana’s “punk-rock politics.” “We were against racism, sexism, homophobia – but I’d rather say we were for inclusion and tolerance,” Novoselic says.
He also addressed the practicality of ranked-choice voting becoming a more mainstream system in the U.S. “Structural changes take time,” he says. “Even when I was in Nirvana – we were in this band, we lived in Tacoma and Olympia, Washington – we were part of the independent punk-rock scene and a year later we were on the cover of Rolling Stone. It shows that change can happen overnight but that’s if people want it. If we present ranked-choice voting as an option it will speak to the needs of enough people where we’ll get it.”