Voices & Choices

Ranked Choice Voting Ballots in Presidential Primaries Draw Support in States

Ranked Choice Voting Ballots in Presidential Primaries Draw Support in States

The Democratic National Committee will soon make a final decision about green lighting plans in several states to allow all of their voters to cast ranked choice voting (RCV) ballots and use those ballots to ensure as many votes as possible count toward earning delegates. 

The Kansas Democratic Party released its draft delegate selection plan last spring and allowed  for public comment. It was impressive to see overwhelming support for building RCV into the system, and this support in the public commenting process has been mirrored by positive editorials like this one from the Pratt Tribune.

FairVote compiled every single public comment submitted to the Kansas Democratic Party that addresses the plan's inclusion of RCV ballots. Of the 30 comments that address RCV, 27 are clearly supportive of the proposed use of RCV, 2 are neutral, and only 1 is somewhat negative (albeit based on a hypothetical requirement to rank all the candidates, which is not being proposed). 

Democrats from Hawaii and Alaska followed a similar process, and comments related to RCV were also positive. For Hawaii’s process, there were five positive comments and one neutral comment. All four comments by Alaska Democrats related to RCV were positive as well. 

Kansas Democrats: 27 Positive Comments


Comments, questions, or suggestions? Let us know!

5/2/2019 16:30:38

Let's test out Ranked Choice voting!

5/2/2019 16:34:23

I'm excited to see that ranked choice voting will be used in the primary! I'm curious to know how it will work in practice. Will local conventions use it to select their delegates? I think that is a good option since it should lead to rather proportional representation of the candidates at the district level.

I also hope that this kind of reform makes its way into other elections in the future. RCV or approval voting would be a big help in other Democratic primary elections with more than two candidates.

5/2/2019 16:56:30

Ranked choice is great, but May 2nd is awful. We are already a small state and now we will have even less impact as to who the nominee will be than ever before.

5/2/2019 17:18:30

I support adopting the ranked choice system.

I believe that the hours on the day of in person voting should be expanded, and that 10 AM to 2 PM is insufficient.

Thank you.

5/2/2019 17:36:06

I'm excited about ranked choice voting! I've told my family and the enthusiasm I see makes me think being able to show our preferences in candidates will bring out more people to vote. This has my full support!

5/2/2019 18:09:15

This is a great idea, I wish and hope that ranked choice voting becomes commonplace across our country

5/2/2019 19:25:10

I love the idea of moving away from a caucus. I have a full time job in the nursing career and it just isn't feasible for me to caucus. Besides, I think a ranking is much more just. Love it, approve it!

5/2/2019 20:05:31

As a registered Democrat in Kansas who has as-of-yet not participated in the primary process due to the inefficiency of a caucus-style event, I am delighted at the proposal to shift towards a ranked-choice primary with a long early-vote period. If this proposal goes through, I will undoubtedly (and enthusiastically!) send in an early voting ballot.

5/2/2019 21:29:33

I love the idea of a ranked choice primary replacing the caucus. In general a primary has a much greater participation rate (less time commitment) and allowing ranking is great—particularly with a lot of candidates.

5/3/2019 0:59:35

Ranked choice voting, please!

5/3/2019 1:27:22

Ranked choice voting is great, and perfect for a primary. Far better than the current system. I fully support this plan.

5/3/2019 1:51:50

YES PLEASE!!!! Let's revolutionize the way primary voting happens. Ranked choice makes sense in a historically large candidate pool. Can't wait for Kansas to be the leader on this!

5/3/2019 2:09:43

Is there a way we could use ranked choice voting, or at least test it even if we didn't abide by the results?

5/3/2019 2:19:28

I absolutely love the idea of rank choice voting! That is required for all major races in the country, and this is a great example to set.

5/3/2019 2:25:36

The switch to ranked choice voting would be a great improvement! Caucusing was undesirable because 1) the lack of secret voting was a negative, 2) it was physically prohibitive for some (that was a tough afternoon on me and my wife, and we are young), and 3) the singular time available.discouraged access. If we did true caucusing, with debates and the like, it would have some virtues, but in all my years we have never done anything even close to actual discussion; it was just standing to publicly vote. Switching to a primary would already be a great improvement. RCV, IRV, or whatever system is chosen would be the cherry on the top - I have been interested in it a democratic reform since 2007, and, if the field of candidates is still large, it could be invaluable in choosing the best candidate and facilitating a decisive and unifying win. Thank you for proposing this!

5/3/2019 3:07:14

Caucasus don’t allow most voters to participate.

Rank Choice Voting allows Voters to Elect the candidate with the Majority of Votes.

Electing one or more candidates or one is the voters choice.

Do this!!!!

5/3/2019 5:56:48

I am in favor of using ranked choice voting!

5/3/2019 12:29:05

I support the move to ranked-choice ballots for selecting our nominees. This change is long overdue and will encourage higher participation.

5/3/2019 12:59:53

Yes to rank choice!!

5/3/2019 15:21:37

I approve of the plan to have ranked ballot for 2020 presidential dem. primary

5/3/2019 20:05:42

I'm in favor of your proposed ranked choice primary voting for 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Primary.

5/4/2019 15:56:19

I am thrilled that the national and state parties are taking our principles seriously by moving away from undemocratic caucuses and encouraging participation in the presidential primary process. 

Adopting ranked choice voting (RCV) would be another major improvement and I fully support it. 

The proposed selection procedures document is too vague concerning RCV – this is particularly problematic on two issues. First, they do not state how many candidates voters will be allowed to rank on the ballots. Given the large field this cycle, this will be an important issue. The party will need to decide, and it should be done in advance. In theory it is better to allow more candidates to be ranked (the only way the design is “strategy proof” is if voters can rank all of the candidates) but the obvious tradeoff is voting complexity.

Second, it does not outline a process of voter education concerning RCV. Maine’s success with RCV has shown that it can be successful and popular. However, Maine’s implementation benefited from its controversial adoption and associated campaign which resulted in more people being familiar with it. The campaign that backed it did a lot of outreach to educate voters on how to use it. The Kansas Democratic Party will need to do the same. In the current document RCV is only barely mentioned and there is no mention of any efforts to help voters learn how to use it. Without this RCV could result in low voter turnout.

I am a political economist at Kansas State University and am happy to talk further about any matter regarding RCV.

5/5/2019 9:32:07

This is amazing! Ranked choice is a better system and more Democratic.

5/5/2019 12:06:44

It would be great if we could do ranked voting

5/7/2019 17:06:28

I am an Olathe, KS resident and party member. I love the idea of using Ranked Choice Voting for the primary! I work with a volunteer group called Better Ballot KC and we are working to bring Ranked Choice Voting to elections in the KC metro area.As you already know, it's a superior system to the plurality system normally used.Using it for the primary will introduce the RCV system to a great number of people and produce better results. Thanks for proposing it, I hope it becomes a reality!

5/30/2019 23:33:20

I support ranked choice voting because reforms which make voters feel as if they are an essential part of the democratic process can energize them for further civic action. When people feel represented, even if their first choice didn’t win, they might continue to support those who won on the basis that they know they were not entirely disregarded.

6/1/2019 16:14:08

I like the idea of the ranked choice ballot.


Kansas Democrats: 2 Neutral Comments



Comments, questions, or suggestions? Let us know!

5/2/2019 21:16:13

Big step forward. I'm not finding an explanation of how the ranked voting will occur at party-run primary. I'm assuming that if your #1 choice fails to achieve 15%, then your second choice kicks in. But, I'm not seeing that explained anywhere. It's also unclear how many voting centers will be open in rural senate districts. I'd encourage multiple primary voting centers in rural senate districts to allow for non-registered Democrats to affiliate and vote with minimal travel.

5/4/2019 0:36:36

I support the general idea proposed, however, I am concerned about the lack of clarity with regards to the vote counting process. It says the primary will be ranked choice, however, there is no mention of how votes will be counted. Will there be elimination of the candidates who fail to reach the quota and redistribution of those ballots? Will there be redistribution if no candidate reaches the quota on the first count or will the quota automatically be lowered based on the DNC rules?

The model seems to based on the largest remainder method, which is used in Ireland and Australia with the Single Transferable Vote system (a ranked-choice system) so I'd assume this primary is to be based on that model, but without the redistribution of overvotes, which I would support, however, this is never explained in any detail in the proposal. This makes me concerned that the KDP has no intention of actually implementing an actual ranked-choice system and only intends to count the first choice votes and ignore the following voters whose first choice candidates fail to reach the threshold, and leaving them unrepresented at the convention.

The KDP should clarify the process through which votes will be counted, and I hope that they will commit to honor the ranked-choice system.


Kansas Democrats: 1 Negative Comment



Comments, questions, or suggestions? Let us know!

5/8/2019 15:07:06

You don't explain how exactly rank-choice voting will work but if it means I have to order 20 candidates in order of preference, I am not going to be happy.


Hawaii Democrats: 5 Positive Comments


Comment Related to RCV

I think that ranked choice voting is a good fit for a state like HI where one party has the most viable candidates.

Please support rank voting for the 2020 Democratic presidential race. This would be a significant democratic improvement by making sure that the person who is chosen is indeed the best overall choice.

I strongly support the proposal for vote-by-mail and ranked-choice. I feel DPH has really listened to the younger generation's suggestions about how to make the PPP more inclusive. I plan to donate money and volunteer my time towards the future success of the new PPP plan.

Thank you for proposing ranked choice in the PPP. I appreciate that my 2nd and 3rd preferences would be captured and taken into account. Mail-in ballot would be significantly more convenient for me.

I participate in the Secure Elections Network, a group of Indivisible chapter leaders from across the country seeking to assist states and counties in the effort to ensure safe and secure elections systems. As Hawaii moves towards full voting by mail, automatic voter registration and other voter-friendly systems, we join other leading states across the country who want to empower voters. The process in the proposed PPP - mail in ballots, ranked voting, same day registration, 20 locations for ballot drop off, etc. includes many of these gold-standard practices which in turn makes Hawaii a leader.



Hawaii Democrats: 1 Neutral Comment


Comment Related to RCV

"At the outset, the plan appears ambitious and very challenging to implement for the following reasons: 1) Initiating a mail-in ballot process—first time; 2) Initiating a ranked choice election process.. first time for most of us; 3) Requiring the estimated expenditure of $200,000 at a time when the Party is operating in the red because of an outstanding bill with the DNC; 4) Fundraising for a Presidential Primary, county conventions, and a state convention with majority of the contributors being the elected Democrats. I wonder if it might not be better to take on one of the initiatives, rather than two. If we stick with both, it will be a major task to educate everyone in the Party, especially on the ranked choice process..."

"Page 8, concerning 'rank' preferences, I don't fully understand how this process works so find it difficult to comment."


Alaska Democrats: 4 Positive Comments


Comments Related to RCV

Section I.2.C.2.c, Ranked choice voting -- I enthusiastically support the use of ranked choice.

Strongly support the use of ranked choice voting.  Political scientists have long recognized ranked choice systems as the preferred alternative for elections with multiple alternatives and single seats (such as primaries),  with the possible exception of the Borda Count system. Ranked choice voting will help the Democratic Party select the strongest candidates for general election competition.  Why aren’t we pushing for ranked choice systems in statewide elections?

I.C.2.c. Highly in favor of ranked-choice voting and hope to see more of this in Alaska and nationwide. It could be used for state elections as well. Would love to see it explained better and play a bigger role, but perhaps it is a start.

I wholeheartedly support this plan. I'm a commercial fisherman who has never been in town on a caucus date. I've felt disenfranchised for years. I don't need to spend yet another evening trying to sway the vote of my neighbors: we meet in the coffee shops and bars year around so there's little left to say. I support a secret ballot and ranked voting.



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