(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) and a group of House Democrats introduced the Ranked Choice Voting Act, H.R. 4464, which would require the states to adopt ranked choice voting (RCV) in primary and general elections for Congress beginning in 2022. The bill would also authorize federal funding to help states implement this change, including adapting equipment if necessary and conducting voter education.
“It makes me proud to introduce this legislation to make America’s elections fairer, more positive, more efficient, and more representative,” said Rep. Raskin. “Our legislation will ensure that candidates who are elected to Congress are the ones who have most successfully assembled a majority of voters. It will also lift up the voices of a much broader cross-section of the voting public, because voters who prefer less popular candidates in the first round of voting can still play a role in forging a majority for the ultimate winning candidate.”
“It will also make our campaigns far more positive,” Rep. Raskin continued. “Instead of trying to win votes by denigrating their opponent, candidates will have an incentive to flatter other candidates to win over their supporters.”
With RCV, voters rank candidates in order of choice. If a candidate receives more than half of the first choices, he or she wins, just like in any election. If not, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and voters who picked that candidate as ‘number 1’ have their votes counted for their next favored choice. This process continues until a candidate wins with more than half the votes.
Already employed for congressional elections in Maine and in dozens of state and local contexts, RCV ensures that winners will be elected with majority popular support but without time-consuming and expensive runoff elections which have been proven to generate lower turnout.
Representatives Don Beyer (VA-08), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Joe Kennedy (MA-04), Ro Khanna (CA-07), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Scott Peters (CA-52), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Kathleen Rice (NY-04) are original cosponsors of the legislation.
The RCV Act was hailed by partner organization FairVote, a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms to improve democracy and empower American voters.
"We applaud Congressman Raskin and his colleagues for their leadership,” said FairVote President and CEO Rob Richie. “Our cities and states show that ranked choice voting makes democracy work better for everyone. RCV gives voters more options, avoids unfair outcomes, and allows voters to choose the candidates they like the most without risk of helping elect candidates they like the least. Let's give all voters a stronger voice by enacting the Ranked Choice Voting Act."
The legislation is also supported by Californians for Electoral Reform, Campaign Legal Center, Election Reformers Network, One Nation One Vote, RepresentWomen, RepresentUs, Represent Maryland, RCV Maryland, and Third Way.
Full text of the RCV Act is available here.