Voices & Choices

4 State Democratic Parties are ready to use ranked choice voting for their Presidential Primaries

4 State Democratic Parties are ready to use ranked choice voting for their Presidential Primaries

As The New York Times asserted in a recent full-page editorial, ranked choice voting (RCV) is a “straightforward and elegant solution” to many of the problems plaguing the current presidential primary system.

While The Times’ message was geared toward reforming future primaries, there are five states Democratic parties using RCV for the Presidential primaries in this cycle: Navada, Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, and Wyoming.

In fact, FairVote is working diligently to educate voters in states using ranked choice voting for state-run presidential primaries. Let us take you through the details of RCV’s implementation in the states of Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas and Wyoming.



When Alaska Democrats head to the polls to select a nominee on April 4 (or vote absentee before March 24), they will be able to rank up to five candidates. By ensuring that voters will not “waste” or “throw away” their votes on low-tier candidates, RCV encourages Alaskans to vote their hearts and guarantees that their voices are heard.

Check out this lovely webpage we created—and the wonderful video below—to learn more about Alaska’s adoption of RCV in the primary.

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Hawaii Democrats will say aloha to RCV when they vote-by-mail by March 2 or head to the polls on April 4. In Hawaii’s version of RCV, voters will be able to rank up to three candidates; this informative handout (as well as the video below) provides more details.


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Last year, in an effort to allow its voters more voice and choice in selecting a presidential nominee, Kansas Democrats ditched their traditional caucus in favor of a ranked choice voting primary. Now, when voters cast a ballot by mail between March 30 and April 24 or in person on May 2, they will have the opportunity to rank up to five candidates. To learn more about the process, use this handy webpage or check out the video below.

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Like Nevada, Wyoming Democrats have adopted RCV to supplement their caucus system—ensuring that no “Cowboy State” voters’ votes will be wasted. When voters mail-in early ballots (by March 20) or vote early in person (on March 28), they will have the opportunity to rank up to five candidates. Learn more about Wyoming Democrats’ adoption of RCV at this webpage or by watching the video below.

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In races with numerous candidates—ones just like this Democratic primary— ranked choice voting is a great solution.  It encourages greater civility, makes sure no votes are “wasted,” and guarantees that a candidate with the support of the majority of the party wins its nomination.

Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, and Wyoming have taken the lead in granting their voters a greater voice and choice in this primary. We look forward to seeing RCV in action in the coming weeks and hope other states will look to its success here in 2020 to adopt the method in the 2024 primaries.


To learn more about the delegate allocation process, check out this Vox piece.




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