Posted on July 15, 2011
On July 13th, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed H 6176 into law. Introduced on May 19th with the backing of FairVote Rhode Island, the bill passed the state Senate 35-2 and House 70-0. It establishes a voter choice study commission charged with studying ranked choice voting (RCV, or "instant runoff voting) and other options designed to increase voter participation and accountability, uphold majority rule and produce fiscal savings. The commission will issue a report by January 2012. A report by a similar commission in Colorado in 2007 led to a 2008 law allowing all localities to use RCV..
Rhode Island has a history of electing candidates with only plurality support, including the 2010 governor's race won with 36%. RCV would avoid "spoiler" dynamics in such election.