The Fight Against Ranked-Choice Voting is Just Beginning

Election Day 2023 showed us that the fight against ranked-choice voting (RCV) is just beginning. Three localities in Michigan adopted measures that would implement ranked-choice voting in local races if the state authorizes its use. In Easthampton, Massachusetts, a measure was approved that, “asked voters whether the city council should petition the state legislature to authorize multi-winner RCV for city council elections.”

Some may have a false sense of security that there will be time to stop the implementation of local RCV elections if it is authorized at the state level, but ballot measures like these illustrate the fact that there are localities across the country that are ready to implement the disastrous system of voting as soon as they are able to.

At its core, ranked-choice voting is confusing and inherently causes many issues:

In standard election systems, voters select their preferred candidate, and the candidate with the most votes wins.  But in jurisdictions that use Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV), also referred to as instant runoff voting, a voter is tasked with ranking each candidate in the order the voter prefers them to win.  If a candidate does not receive more than 50% of votes in the first round of tabulation, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated.  Voters whose first choice was the eliminated candidate will then have their second-most preferred votes reallocated among the remaining candidates.  This process continues until one candidate receives a majority of the remaining votes.  While proponents claim RCV is a positive voting reform that would improve elections and voter participation, RCV causes more issues than it solves.

This confusion was on full display in Boulder, Colorado, on Election Day when a one-time Republican candidate who received the most voters in the first round of the mayoral race was not elected mayor when all was said and done. As Axios Denver reports, the first-round, second-place candidate (incumbent Mayor Aaron Brockett) lobbied the first-round, third-place candidate’s voters to be their second choice. When the first-round, first-place candidate did not meet the required threshold in the first round, most of the votes from the eliminated candidate went to the incumbent mayor, giving him enough votes to take the lead—and moved the outcome of the election to the left. 

It is important for anyone who cares about the future of our country to stand against RCV. Stop RCV said it perfectly: RCV is “the most divisive election system in modern history.”

To learn more about the dangers of ranked-choice voting, visit LDF’s fact page here.