Ranked choice voting for New Hampshire’s presidential primary could have been a godsend for a crowded field of Democratic candidates. But the bill has landed in legislative purgatory after the state Election Law Committee decided Wednesday to delay further consideration of the bill until its next legislative session.
Without a positive recommendation from the committee, HB 728 cannot move forward to the full floor vote necessary to enact the revolutionary reform in time for the state’s 2020 primary. But the temporary impasse doesn’t mean all hope for the 2020 nomination has died, as bill sponsor and election reform advocate Adam Eichen of Equal Citizens told The Independent Voter Network’s Shawn Griffith’ in a podcast interview and corresponding blog post.
“While this outcome is a setback, the fight for this common sense democracy reform is far from over,” Eichen said.
The setback for New Hampshire comes days after the Iowa Democratic Party unveiled a plan featuring ranked choice voting for the party’s 2020 caucus. As proposed, the state will award 10 percent of its delegates based on results from ‘virtual caucuses’ in which participants can phone-in their choices using a ranked choice-style system to mimic the live precinct caucuses.
Meanwhile, the momentum behind ranked choice voting for New Hampshire’s presidential primary could help fuel the fire in other states, including Maine where local reformers are lobbying the legislature to switch from caucuses to primaries and add ranked ballots, as a columnist for The Star Tribune wrote. The Democratic National Committee’s new mandates for caucus states aimed at increasing turnout also make a compelling case for the spread of ranked choice voting.
And after the compelling case Equal Citizens made in New Hampshire to save the crowded 2020 field from split votes and unrepresentative outcomes, perhaps even the candidates themselves could have a “come to Jesus moment” to push for ranked ballots in time for the 2020 primaries.