Ranked-Choice Voting and How Louisiana Compares to Other States

(By Kerry Pickett, The Washington Times/Louisiana Freedom Caucus — The Louisiana state Senate gave final approval to legislation to ban ranked-choice voting, joining the backlash to the expansion of an election process that has helped Democrats flip Republican-leaning House districts in Alaska and Maine.

Gov. Jeff Landry, a Republican, is expected to sign it into law, making Louisiana the eighth state to enact legislation prohibiting ranked-choice voting.

Critics say ranked-choice voting disenfranchises voters and can elect candidates who are not favored by the majority of the electorate. Proponents argue that it is a nonpartisan election reform that gives voters more choices and leads to better, more issues-focused campaigns and fairer outcomes.

The Louisiana bill, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Blake Miguez, forbids local governments from holding ranked-choice elections. Out-of-state military members who have used the voting method in Louisiana elections for decades are exempted from the prohibition.

“With the passage of my bill, voters in Louisiana can rest assured that we will not abandon our one American citizen, one vote elections,” Mr. Miguez, a founding member of the Louisiana Freedom Caucus, said after the Senate action Monday. “This is America! No one should ever be forced to vote for candidates that do not align with their political views just to have their ballots counted.”

Supporters of ranked-choice voting have been pushing to expand its use across the country.

It enables voters to pick candidates in order of preference.

When ballots are counted, the race is called if a candidate picks up over 50% of the first-place votes cast.

However, if no candidate garners more than 50%, the candidate with the fewest votes is removed from the race. When a voter’s first choice is removed, his second choice becomes his new first-preferred candidate.

The voting rounds continue the same way until one candidate gets more than 50% of the votes.

The voting system is popular among moderate and third-party candidates, as it gives them a better chance of winning elections.

Two states, Alaska and Maine, use ranked choice voting for statewide and federal elections, while Hawaii uses it just for statewide elections.

Fourteen states have localities that either use it or will start using it in municipal elections, and twenty-seven states have no laws on ranked-choice voting.

Virginia has authorized ranked-choice voting but only uses it in partisan primaries.



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