The U.S. House of Representatives has once again introduced the For the People Act as the first bill in their legislative session. The bill includes many electoral reforms, among them funding towards systems which can administer ranked choice voting (RCV) elections.
H.R. 1 was also introduced in 2019, but failed to gain traction in the Senate last session. In the current Congress, the bill has a greater chance of passing. Senate leadership has also made the bill a priority for the new session. The bill allocates funding for states with outdated voting systems to update them. A clause in the section allocating funding states,
“...an eligible State which receives a grant to replace a voting system under this section shall ensure that the replacement system is capable of administering a system of ranked choice voting under which each voter shall rank the candidates for the office in the order of the voter’s preference.“
In short, the new election systems funded by this bill will be able to count ranked ballots. While the bill does not expand where RCV elections are occurring, it will ensure many new states have voting systems that could administer an RCV election. This is an important step, and should H.R. 1 become law, it will remove potential roadblocks to the future expansion of RCV. As RCV gains momentum across the country, our elected officials demonstrate strong leadership by including this provision in flagship legislation to ensure cities and states are prepared to modernize their elections to RCV.
The full text of the bill is here.