Posted by Ashley Houghton on April 19, 2020 at 4:31 PM


Press Contact: Ashley Houghton
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 Wyoming Democratic Voters Turn Out For Presidential Primary In Record Numbers, Using Ranked Choice Voting For the First Time

Wyoming Democratic Voters Cast Twice the Number of Ballots Than In 2016; 1,333 Ballots Saved That Would Have Otherwise Been “Wasted”

Cheyenne, WY; April 19, 2020 – FairVote, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for electoral reform in the United States, hailed the use of ranked choice voting for the first time in a major party presidential primary.  Wyoming Democrats released results from their party-run presidential primary today: a visual representation of the eight rounds is available here.

Top takeaways:

  • Voter turnout was more than double the turnout in the 2016 caucuses.
  • After the first round, Joe Biden had won 65.7% of the vote, Bernie Sanders had won 23.9% of the vote, Elizabeth Warren had won 4.5% of the vote, and 5.9%  were dispersed among other candidates.
  • By the final tally, Biden had won 72.2% of the vote and Sanders had won 27.8% of the vote. Biden gained 6.% and Sanders gained 3.8% of their final total from backers of other candidates.
  • More than 10% of ballots were cast for candidates other than Sanders or Biden and would not have counted in the final tally without ranked choice voting. Nearly nine in ten (89%) voters who backed withdrawn candidates had their ballot count for Sanders or Biden based on their rankings.
  • Fewer than one in 500 voters made errors that would render their ballots unusable; 99.8% of ballots were valid in the first use of ranked choice voting in Wyoming.

Further, with ranked choice voting, the following comparisons can be made between the Alaska primary results from last weekend and the Wyoming results from today. 

  • Three out of four voters in each state chose to rank candidates, rather than select a single candidate.
  • In both states, Gabbard voters were disproportionately likely to only vote for one candidate. 
  • In Alaska, Klobuchar voters were the most likely to take advantage of ranked choice voting, on average ranking between 4-5 candidates. In Wyoming, Klobuchar, Buttigieg, and Steyer voters ranked the greatest number of candidates.

Comparisons between Alaska and Wyoming Democratic voters can also be seen here.

“Wyoming Democrats have proven that a vote-by-mail system, combined with ranked choice voting, is an effective way to ensure the safety of both their citizens and their elections,” shared Rob Richie, President and CEO of FairVote.

Wyoming Democratic Party Communications Director Nina Hebert recently shared how the party decided to integrate vote-by-mail and ranked choice voting into its elections: “We began working backwards from how can we make it easy for people to vote and built the logistics around that...that is the biggest factor that allowed us to have that double increase over what we saw in 2016.”

FairVote worked closely on voter education with nonpartisan organizations in Wyoming, including creating a video and written materials

Democrats will also use similar practices, including ranked choice voting, in presidential primaries now underway in Hawaii and Kansas. Maine voters will also use ranked choice voting in its primaries and its  general election for President, U.S. Senate and U.S. House this November.


FairVote is a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans. 

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