Posted by Ethan Fitzgerald on February 09, 2016
UPDATED: February 26 with information on a new bill and progress on two others.
With a new year comes a new legislative session in state houses around the U.S. 2016 has seen state legislators nationwide use this opportunity to empower voters by introducing bills that create new uses of ranked choice voting (RCV) at the state and local levels. Just one month into this year’s session, at least 27 pro-RCV bills have been introduced in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
The proposed measures advance RCV in a variety of ways. Bills in Georgia, Massachusetts, and Vermont, for example, call for those states to join the five jurisdictions already providing ranked ballots to overseas and military voters. In states such as Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and New Jersey, lawmakers are discussing legislation that would enable local governments to use RCV. New York again will debate legislation to use instant runoff voting for New York City’s citywide primary elections that passed the state senate last year with a large bipartisan majority. Proposed laws in Hawaii and Rhode Island would have RCV used in elections for state-level offices.
A Washington bill that has passed one chamber would allow localities to resolve voting rights challenges with multi-winner version of RCV. Another Maryland bill would establish an interstate compact to use fair representation voting methods such as instant runoff voting for congressional elections. We anticipate even more bills that advance RCV will be introduced later this year in other states and in Congress.
Check out the map below to see if there’s pending RCV legislation in your state and a simple listing with links below. You can use this tool from Open States to find out who your state legislators are and ask them to support laws that will give more voters the freedom to rank candidates in order of choice so that everyone’s voice is heard, and majority rule is upheld.
HB 2283: Establishes procedures for RCV and requires voting equipment be able to implement it.
SB 1288: Enables local governments to use ranked choice voting and other fair representation methods in their elections.
District of Columbia
B 21-0002: Requires use of RCV for all District positions.
SB 102: Requires use of RCV for overseas and military voters in federal runoff elections.
SB 277: Requires use of RCV for elections for all public offices.
See The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting.
MC 15-16: Enables the Montgomery County Council to use RCV in special elections for County offices. Passed the House County delegation unanimously.
SB 762: Establishes an interstate compact to use fair representation voting methods such as ranked choice voting for congressional elections.
AB 1762: Enables the use of RCV in certain local elections.
SB 2738: Creates a pilot program to provide for RCV to be used in up to ten local governments, selected by the state board of elections, in election years 2019 and 2020, requires report to state legislature.
SB 2741/AB 5744: Permits the use of RCV on a trial basis in certain local elections at the option of local governments in the years 2016, 2017 and 2018.
SB 4586/AB 5571: Requires the use of RCV in primary elections for mayor, public advocate, and comptroller in the city of New York.
HB 7311: Proposes an amendment to the Constitution to provide for a majority vote requirement through instant runoff voting for a general officers' election.
HB 115: Requires the use of RCV for military or overseas voters in presidential primaries.
HB 1745: Allows localities to resolve voting rights challenges with multi-winner RCV.
Image Source: Lowlova