Push for ranked voting in Wisconsin has bipartisan push

Ranked-choice voting ballot from Maine election (WABI)
Ranked-choice voting ballot from Maine election (WABI)
Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 10:37 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The push for ranked-choice voting in Wisconsin is gaining steam with the introduction of a bipartisan bill in the state Legislature, a move backed by a Republican congressman and a recently formed coalition of the state’s civic and business leaders.

The bill unveiled Wednesday is the first that Republicans have supported on the matter. A measure introduced by Democrats last session didn’t even get a hearing. It’s unclear whether the latest bipartisan bill has the support of Republican legislative leaders.

In the primaries, instead of limiting voters to choose candidates in one party, voters would select their top candidate, regardless of party. The top vote-getters go on the ballot for the general election.

At the general election, voters would rank their choices from most- to least-favorite. The candidate who was the first choice of at least 50% of voters is the winner. If none of the candidates wins the majority, the lowest vote-getter is eliminated and the voters who had that candidate as their top choice now have their second-favorite votes counted. The process continues until one candidate has more than 50% of the vote, deciding a winner.

Supporters say ranked-choice voting would make elections less politically polarized since candidates would want to reach a broader base of voters. Opponents say it would be too complicated and open to abuse.

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