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13 States Consider Expanding Use of Ranked Choice Voting in 2016

by Fair Vote, published

With a new year comes a new legislative session in state houses around the U.S. 2016 has seen state legislators nationwide use this opportunity to empower voters by introducing bills that create new uses of ranked choice voting (RCV) at the state and local levels. Just one month into this year’s session, at least 27 pro-RCV bills have been introduced in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

The proposed measures advance RCV in a variety of ways. Bills in Georgia, Massachusetts, and Vermont, for example, call for those states to join the five jurisdictions already providing ranked ballots to overseas and military voters. In states such as Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and New Jersey, lawmakers are discussing legislation that would enable local governments to use RCV. New York again will debate legislation to establish RCV for New York City’s citywide primary elections that passed the state Senate last year with a large bipartisan majority. Proposed laws in Hawaii and Rhode Island would have RCV used in elections for state-level offices.

A Washington bill that has passed one chamber would allow localities to resolve voting rights challenges with a multi-winner version of RCV. Another Maryland bill would establish an interstate compact to use fair representation voting methods such as ranked choice voting for congressional elections. We anticipate even more bills that advance RCV will be introduced later this year in other states and in Congress.

Check out the map below to see if there’s pending RCV legislation in your state and a simple listing with links below. You can use this tool from Open States to find out who your state legislators are and ask them to support laws that will give more voters the freedom to rank candidates in order of choice so that everyone’s voice is heard, and majority rule is upheld.

Editor's Note: This post, written by Ethan Fitzgerald, originally published on FairVote's blog on February 9, 2016, and has been modified slightly for publication on IVN.

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