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.