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Ten States Ban Ranked-Choice Voting as Others Push for It in November Ballot Measures

by Natalia Mittelstadt

 

As the number of states banning ranked-choice voting (RCV) is increasing, some are facing ballot measures this November that would implement the voting system.

While 10 states have banned RCV and more may join them this November if voters vote for the ballot measures, six other states will have ballot measures to switch their elections to RCV.

RCV is an election process whereby if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, then a runoff system is triggered. When voters cast their ballots, they rank each candidate in order of first-to-last. RCV is being introduced in states across the country, but is facing pushback from both sides of the political aisle, including efforts to ban it.

If one candidate doesn’t reach the 50 percent plus-one vote threshold, then the candidate with the least amount of first-choice votes is eliminated, then second-choice votes from those who voted for the last-place finisher are reallocated among the remaining candidates and tallied – in a process that continues until a candidate receives the majority of the vote.

Proponents of RCV argue that the system results in representative outcomes and majority rule, incentivizes positive campaigning, allows for more voter choice, and saves money when replacing preliminaries or runoffs, according to pro-RCV organization FairVote.

Alaska and Maine use RCV in elections statewide, and three counties and 45 cities use RCV, according to FairVote.

Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Tennessee have banned RCV. Alaska has a ballot measure on the November ballot to repeal RCV. Alaska held its first ranked-choice election in 2022, which wasn’t decided until two weeks after Election Day.

Election Day 2022 was Nov. 8. But the races for Alaska incumbents GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Rep. Mary Peltola weren’t tabulated until Nov. 23.

Murkowski trailed slightly behind Trump-backed Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka on Nov. 18 at 43.11 percent, to Tshibaka’s 43.28 percent, with 95 percent of the ballots counted. However, after counting the ranked choices until a candidate received a majority, Murkowski won with 54 percent of the vote.

Missouri has a ballot measure for the general election to amend the state constitution to ban RCV and prevent non-citizens from voting.

Arizona will also have a state constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would effectively ban RCV by requiring partisan primaries, prohibiting nonpartisan primaries, and preventing any sort of California-style “jungle primary” where the top five vote-getters would advance to the general election.

Pro-RCV groups are attempting to legalize the election process despite the bans. In Idaho, a pro-RCV group is looking to put RCV on the November ballot upon which voters may decide.

In Montana, where RCV is already banned, a group is attempting to put initiatives on the November ballot that would amend the state’s constitution to implement RCV.

Both Nevada and Oregon voters will be voting on ballot measures in the general election that would implement RCV in elections statewide if passed. If Nevada’s ballot measure passes, then it will amend the state constitution to implement RCV in both primaries and general elections. Nevada must pass a state amendment ballot measure twice for it to be ratified. This is the second vote after it was passed two years ago.

The Oregon ballot measure would only implement RCV for federal and state executive offices, but not the state legislature.

Stop-RCV Coalition Co-Chair Trent England said during a press call on Wednesday that there wasn’t a “major campaign” pushing against the measure last time, but that this time, “both the Nevada Republican and Democratic parties” are “opposing ranked-choice voting,” partly because “they don’t like the nonpartisan primary aspect.”

The two Democratic U.S. senators for Nevada and the only congressional Republican for the state oppose the RCV amendment.

South Dakota also has a pro-RCV ballot measure for voters to decide on in November. It’s a constitutional amendment to have a nonpartisan top-two primary system, where the two candidates who get the most votes move on to the general election.

In Colorado, as a pro-RCV group is trying to gain enough signatures to put a measure on a ballot in November to implement RCV, the Democratic governor signed a bill into law on Thursday that would require the voting system to be tried at the municipal level before implementing it statewide.

Jason Snead, executive director of the Honest Election Project Action, previously told Just the News that “RCV is elite-choice voting,” adding that the “same cohorts of big money donors on the left are pushing this, weakening the party apparatus,” so that they will be “in position to step in and fill the gap.” He believes that “liberal mega-donors are buying a new election system” that will “cater to their interests” and help push politics further left.

There are multiple left-leaning groups funding pro-RCV campaigns.

One of those groups is Action Now, Inc., which is managed by Arnold Ventures, founded by Laura and John Arnold, a former Enron executive. Arnold Ventures is classified as a center-left philanthropy group by Influence Watch.

According to Action Now, Inc.’s 2022 IRS Form 990, the 501c(4) organization granted $1.9 million to RCV groups across the country: $600,000 to FairVote Minnesota, $100,000 to Oregon Ranked Choice Voting, $50,000 to Ranked Choice Voting for Clark County (Wash.), $200,000 to Common Cause (New York City), and $950,000 to Alaskans for Better Elections, Inc.

Action Now, Inc. also gave $3 million to a pro-RCV group in Nevada called Nevada Voters First in 2022, according to The Nevada Independent.

The Institute for Political Innovation (IPI) gave $5 million to Nevada Voters First that year. IPI “is leading the effort to seed and support state-based campaigns for Final-Five Voting,” according to its website. Final-Five Voting is a form of RCV.

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Natalia Mittelstadt is a reporter for Just the News.
Photo “Voting Booths” by Phil Roeder. CC BY 2.0.

 

 


Reprinted with permission from Just the News.

The post Ten States Ban Ranked-Choice Voting as Others Push for It in November Ballot Measures appeared first on The Florida Capital Star.

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