On August 22, 2008, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed into law SB 439, allowing all municipalities to adopt ranked ballots for overseas voters by ordinance when a primary occurs close to the general election. Overseas voters are often disenfranchised when this happens, because election officials do not have sufficient time to print and mail ballots. Under the Illinois law, however, military and other overseas voters will rank candidates in the primary election, and their ranked ballots can then be used to determine their vote in the general election. Springfield (IL) adopted this practice via ballot measure with an affirmative vote of 91% last year. Ranked choice ballots are already in use for overseas voters in Arkansas, Louisiana and South Carolina. A similar Bill is also currently being considered in California.
FairVote welcomes this reform as a means to ensure the votes of the military and other Americans overseas can be counted, and as a step towards instant runoff voting. By allowing all voters to rank candidates in order of preference, instant runoff voting could solve the spoiler problem, and eliminate the need for costly primary and runoff elections.
[Read the Illinois Bill]
[Read the California Bill]
[More on instant runoff ballots for overseas voters]
[More on instant runoff voting]