April 18 update: Pro-RCV legislation was signed by the governor in Utah and remains active in several of the 29 states with pro-RCV bills. As summarized here, the U.S. House passed HR1, which includes two pro-RCV provisions. In ballot measures on RCV, Vermont's largest city of Burlington passed RCV with 64% on March 2nd.
Ranked choice voting (RCV) is gaining momentum across the country as a large number of state legislatures are considering reforming their local and statewide election methods. So far, 30 RCV bills have been proposed across the country. With bipartisan support for these reforms in many states, there is a unique ability to make future changes to the current U.S. election system. Many proposed bills seek to implement RCV, with legislators and their constituents coming together to demand a more equitable and representative election process. Legislation championing RCV transcends party lines, geographic region, and various other demographics, showing the merit this voting method has in conducting fair elections.
The slew of proposed legislation makes FairVote’s legislation tracker a valuable resource, as it compiles a list of relevant legislation in an easy to identify place.
In 2021, RCV is garnering more bipartisan support across the country, as evidenced by Georgia, with senior Republican officials such as Representative Wesley Cantrell joining Georgia Democrats in proposing RCV be utilized for military and overseas voters. RCV would streamline the arduous mailing process for overseas voting, by cutting down the number of forms that voters need to mail to election officials. The growing bipartisan sponsorship of this bill shows that RCV is a more efficient and equitable alternative to traditional voting processes, potentially solving the problematic mailing process that has plagued elections for years.
Oregon is also making considerable strides in updating its election process, with a wide range of lawmakers seeking to expand usage of RCV after its resounding success and popularity with voters in Benton County. These efforts can be seen in House Bills 2678 and 2686, which aim to reform state and local elections by using RCV to elect officials for state office. The eagerness of state officials to implement RCV to statewide elections shows that the transition is both feasible and desirable for state officials, promising increased voter turnout with few administrative downsides. With over a dozen sponsors for these two bills, Oregon seems poised to modernize its election systems and become a leader in electoral reform within the country.
The impressive pace at which legislation championing electoral reform has come along in the first month of 2021 indicates that RCV is an important issue for the American people. With an impressive amount of state legislatures working to modernize their election systems, 2021 promises to be an exciting year for election reform, in which states across the country work to make sure their elections truly give voters a voice. Check out FairVote’s web page highlighting 2021 legislation concerning RCV to stay up to date with the latest updates in this exciting arena of election reform!