Wisconsin Republicans Move To Ban Ranked Choice Voting

Wisconsin is joining a growing list of states and other jurisdictions across America to move forward with permanently banning Ranked Choice Voting. Twin Constitutional Amendments to ban Ranked Choice Voting were recently introduced in the state Assembly with AJR101 and state Senate with SJR 94, garnering strong support from the Republican Leadership Teams and General Membership.

In Wisconsin, the legislative process for a constitutional amendment is thorough. It includes hearings at the Committee level for public comment, followed by a Committee vote, and then consideration by the entire Assembly and Senate during a Floor Session. Notably, a constitutional amendment cannot be vetoed by the Governor. Hearings on AJR101 and SJR94 are expected in the next few weeks, aiming for passage during the February 2024 Floor Session and placement on a statewide ballot in 2025.

Ranked Choice Voting, a concept that has been around for decades in America, is increasingly scrutinized for its complexity and potential to skew election results. Proponents argue it encourages more candidates, increases voter participation, and eliminates electoral nastiness. They claim it gives voters more choices, saves democracy, takes big money out of elections, and is gaining popularity with a system of runoffs until one candidate achieves a majority.

However, critics, especially among conservative circles, see it differently. Ranked Choice Voting is viewed as a system that benefits leftist progressive candidates at the expense of conservative voices. Some label it a way to “Keep Having Runoffs Until the Democrat Wins.” This perception is bolstered by the fact that liberal big money donors and progressive groups often support this voting system.

The downsides of Ranked Choice Voting are significant. It is considered highly confusing, potentially leading to many runoffs until a candidate reaches a slight majority. The system is expensive, increases the workload for clerks and poll workers, results in delayed election outcomes and often leads to many ballots being destroyed or discarded during each runoff.

On the legislative front in Wisconsin, there’s a divide among Republicans regarding adopting Ranked Choice Voting. While a bipartisan group led by state Sen. Jesse James (R) supports bringing it to the state’s congressional and U.S. Senate races, others like state Rep. Ty Bodden (R) and state Sen. Duey Stroebel (R) are pushing for a constitutional amendment to outlaw it. The Senate Elections Committee has already held a public hearing on the proposal. Still, the future of these bills remains uncertain.

The push against Ranked Choice Voting in Wisconsin reflects a broader national trend. States like Florida, Tennessee, Idaho, Montana and South Dakota have banned its use in elections. Critics see RCV as a threat to election integrity, arguing that it is confusing, less transparent, and unfairly advantages certain political groups. They urge other states to follow Wisconsin’s lead in giving electors a voice in determining the fate of Ranked Choice Voting.