Voices & Choices

Legislators in 20+ States Push for RCV

Legislators in 20+ States Push for RCV

Kicking off this new year, legislators in over 20 states proposed new legislation to advance ranked choice voting (RCV). Democratic, Republican, and Independent lawmakers are sponsoring different versions of RCV legislation, a testament to its cross-partisan appeal. FairVote is tracking these bills to analyze their impacts, understand their viability, and weigh in with our support when appropriate.

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Many of these new RCV bills introduced allow for the implementation of RCV at a local level, which will allow municipalities to set up a trial run and see if complications occur. Research has indicated that most voters do not have a problem with ranking candidates by their choice of preference. In certain states like Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island, the bills also fund voter education about RCV to ensure that voters are prepared for the change. 

As of now, the only two states that have adopted RCV in statewide and federal elections are Maine and Alaska. However, there is the potential for other states to follow in their path as well, and these states are: New York, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Hawaii. New York legislators have proposed a number of bills relating to RCV in local elections, which can create momentum toward adopting RCV statewide. Legislators in Massachusetts and Wisconsin proposed RCV bills that have the highest number of sponsors compared to other states showing deep support for elections reform. Hawaii legislators have also proposed a number of bills relating to RCV, including one to implement RCV in special elections. 

Though the majority of RCV bills introduced would advance use of the improved voting method, there are bills in three states (Florida, Minnesota, and Tennessee) that would restrict voters and cities from being allowed to decide for themselves to use RCV. It’s a shame that a small handful of legislators in these few states don’t understand how ranked choice voting will help voters, legislators, and our democracy. Fortunately, there are far more legislators serving in statehouses across the country who realize the benefits of RCV and are actively working to let their voters have more voice and more choice by ranking their ballots. 

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