While Alaska voters have been working to get signatures needed to repeal ranked-choice voting in the 49th state, Oregon’s state legislators, in the closing hours of this year’s legislative session, took a step toward adopting a ranked-choice voting with the approval of House Bill 2004 on Sunday.
HB 2004 will be on the Oregon ballot in 2024, offering voters the chance to join Alaska and Maine in using ranked-choice voting method. If the referendum passes, both federal and statewide elections will use ranked-choice system, except for the presidential race, which is governed by federal election law. Local jurisdictions will have the option to implement it for their respective elections as well.
The Foundation for Government Accountability calls ranked-choice voting a “disaster.”
“Funded by the progressive Left, RCV advocacy organizations claim that this massive overhaul can improve voter confidence by providing more candidate choices, decreasing negative campaigning, and ensuring majority rule. But these are false promises, and the proliferation of RCV would be harmful to American elections,” the think tank says.
Ranked-choice voting allows voters to rank their preferences, rather than simply make a single, binary choice. To secure a victory on the general election ballot in November, when the ranked-choice method is used, a candidate must receive more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate achieves an outright majority in the initial count, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and a process continues with the redistribution of votes based on the eliminated candidate’s supporters’ second choice. The process continues until one candidate emerges with a majority of the votes.
Alaska’s system, which includes open primaries, was jerry-rigged by the group of politicos that supported the reelection of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, because it was clear she would not be able to win a Republican primary. Open primaries and ranked-choice generals helped her win her seat, and also brought Alaska a Democrat in Congress — Rep. Mary Peltola.
Supporters of ranked-choice voting believe that its implementation will lead to fairer outcomes and enhance voter engagement.
Critics argue that the system is overly complicated, cannot be verified by hand counting, and that the retabulation of ballots delays the public knowing the final outcome, and that the system gives a bigger advantage to incumbents who are better known than challengers.
The group trying to repeal ranked-choice voting in Alaska, Alaskans for Honest Elections, have over 14,000 of the 27,000 signatures they need to get their initiative on the 2024 ballot.
Other jurisdictions are playing with the new voting bingo game — Nevada voters passed a measure to establish both open primaries and ranked choice voting like Alaska, but because it would change the state’s constitution, the voters must vote again on the measure. Seattle voters have switched to ranked-choice voting in their local municipal elections.