Voices & Choices

Americans of All Parties Love RCV

Americans of All Parties Love RCV

Ranked choice voting (RCV) improves representation, increases participation, and improves our democracy. Some may have you believe that RCV is a tool for helping one party over another; however, recent legislation and elections prove that ranked choice voting is a cross-partisan reform with support on both sides of the aisle.

In 2019, New York City voted to amend their charter to implement RCV in primaries and special elections. FairVote Action Board Member Andrew Yang, a long-time supporter of RCV and founder of the Forward Party, tweeted, “Ranked choice voting would let us express our true preferences and make our politics more dynamic and responsive. We should make it the norm throughout the country.” Fast forward to 2021, when Eric Adams, a moderate Democrat, was elected the mayor through these recently instituted RCV primaries.

On the other side of the aisle, Virginia’s new governor, Glenn Youngkin, was nominated by Virginia’s Republican Party through an RCV convention. Using RCV allowed Virginia Republicans to choose a nominee that appealed to a wide range of voters and ultimately won the gubernatorial election for the first time in over a decade. 

Alaska is the first state to combine open primaries with RCV, creating a process that aims to reduce hyperpartisanship and increase accountability. Robert Dillon, a Republican consultant who worked on the ballot measure, states that “it encourages candidates to talk to all constituents and to build a broad coalition and to serve them.”

In Wisconsin, both Republicans and Democrats support the implementation of RCV. The bipartisan bill aims at making elections less divisive and forces candidates to appeal to a broader range of voters instead of heading solely for the extremes on either side of the aisle.

In Missouri, a bipartisan ballot measure to implement RCV was recently proposed. Similar to Wisconsin, proponents of this effort point to the need to get away from extreme partisan politics and agree that RCV is a way to get there. John Hancock, a Republican co-leader of the campaign, stated that, "It will make campaigns more broad-based. I think it will make campaigns less divisive. And I think it'll produce better elected officials." 

In Washington DC, a conversation about implementing RCV recently began among council members. Commenting on this potential change, the chair of the progressive group D.C. for Democracy Jeremiah Lowery stated that, “I often times have conversations with candidates and they will sometimes say to me, ‘Other candidates in the race have the support of low-income Black seniors, so I won’t focus on them because that’s not my base,’ or ‘That candidate has connections to public housing residents, so I will focus on wealthier parts of the city to develop a base of support.’ With ranked choice voting, all voters will potentially become a part of a candidate’s base.” 

RCV provides an opportunity for cross-partisan cooperation and a move toward a better democratic process. For more information on how to get involved where you live, see this list of state groups who are working to expand RCV. 


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