We’re only halfway through 2020, but ranked choice voting (RCV) has already had enough victories to fill a full year!
In just the first six months of the year, there’s been the use of RCV in five presidential primaries, phenomenal media coverage in digital and print outlets, amazing progress on numerous state-led campaigns to put RCV to statewide referenda in November, and much more.
Here is a comprehensive list of RCV victories thus far in 2020:
- Democratic voters in five states—Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Wyoming, and Nevada—had the opportunity to experience RCV in party-run presidential primaries. This reality ensured that votes in those states cast for candidates who eventually withdrew from the race were not “wasted”—but instead counted for voters’ next-ranked choices.
- RCV is heading to statewide ballots. in November. Massachusetts will vote on passage of Maine-style RCV. At least one state (Alaska) will vote on a package of changes that includes RCV in a “Top Four primary,” as might North Dakota and Arkansas. Other city councils may join Albany, CA and Eureka, CA in placing RCV on the ballot, including San Diego and cities in Minnesota and Vermont.
- Ranked choice voting has received extensive positive media coverage, including a feature on Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act and editorial backing from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Party leaders spanning the political spectrum have embraced RCV to flawlessly conduct virtual conventions amid a global pandemic. This includes both the Utah Republican and Democratic Parties, the Indiana GOP, and the Virginia Republican and Democratic Parties.
- In June, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences released a comprehensive report detailing six broad strategies and 31 specific recommendations intended to reinvigorate American democracy by 2026. Two of the reforms that were prominently featured in the report are the expansion of RCV in federal and local elections, and the creation of multi-member districts with representatives selected via RCV—both reforms FairVote has long championed.
- The Fulcrum held a series of reader votes to choose among 64 reform proposals in its “Democracy Madness” tournament. RCV was the champion, defeating the National Popular Vote plan in the final round.
- Virginia passed two local options bills for RCV enabling cities to opt into RCV in 2021. Arlington County appears poised to seize the opportunity to adopt RCV, following the lead of its local Democratic Party, which regularly chooses candidates using RCV.
- RCV won big on the ballot in Maine’s largest city of Portland in March. After three mayoral elections with RCV, 81 percent of voters backed expanding RCV to all city offices in a campaign led by the League of Women Voters of Maine and its Portland allies.
- At the League of Women Voters US biennial convention this month, 93 percent of its 1,143 delegates voted to approve a new position to “support electoral systems at each level of government that encourage participation, are verifiable and auditable and enhance representation for all voters.” This position enables LWVUS and its state and local ams to advocate for ranked choice voting and proportional voting.
- The number of colleges and universities using RCV for student elections soared past 75, with 13 new adoptions and uses including Auburn, George Washington, Swarthmore, UC Santa Cruz, and the Universities of Houston, Michigan, and Wyoming.
- The Academy of Motion Pictures, which uses the proportional form of RCV for nearly all its Oscar nominations, will now do so for Best Picture nominees; RCV was already used to pick the Best Picture winner. The Academy expanded its use of RCV to elect its Governing Board; RCV winners this year included Whoopi Goldberg and Ava DuVernay.
- In April, Basalt, Colorado used RCV in its three-candidate race for mayor. In November, Benton County (OR) will use RCV for the first time.
State groups continue to form and build support for change. Among many examples:
- Voter Choice Connecticut worked with allies in the legislature to raise a bill to establish a task force to study RCV.
- FairVote Washington’s webinar series included A Conversation with David Daley and Ranked-Choice Voting: Diversity in Democracy and Fair Representation
- Rank My Vote Florida boasts active groups in Sarasota, Jacksonville, Miami, and Gainesville.
While these successes have been great for the movement, we’re not getting complacent. Indeed, these victories have only motivated us to fight harder to provide better governance to all Americans. Learn how you can join us in that fight here.