ND Democracy Talk | Final Five Voting with Katherine Gehl

Author: Amy Fagerli

Katherine Gehl

Business leader, Author, & Founder – The Campaign for Final Five Voting

Katherine Gehl is the founder of the Campaign for Final Five Voting and author of The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy (with co-author, Michael Porter of Harvard Business School).

Many Americans agree on three things—they’re proud to be Americans, they love their country and they think Washington is broken, and yet they are deeply divided on how to address the latter. What if we’re looking in all the wrong places for the solutions? Perhaps, suggests Gehl, the most powerful leverage is in the design of our election system itself—not the design elements enshrined in the Constitution but the myriad “rules of the game” developed over time which now determine the incentives driving our political system.

Previously, Gehl was the CEO of a $250 million manufacturing company (delivering a 19x return in seven years), and it was an epiphany during a company strategy project in 2013 that led her to apply lenses of free market competition and classic industry analysis to politics. This novel approach sheds new light on the root causes of political dysfunction, and most importantly, illuminates the potential power of one particular innovation: a new election system for Congress which she has called Final-Five Voting. FFV is the unique combination of top-five primaries and instant runoff general elections. No longer just theory, Final Five Voting passed in Alaska in 2020 and is being advanced in states across the country.

In the public sector, Gehl served on the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution. She is on several nonprofit boards and is an active philanthropist. She is also the honorary co-chair of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers, and the co-founder of Democracy Found.


Originally published by Amy Fagerli at rooneycenter.nd.edu on October 25, 2023.