June 26, 2023
Columbia, SC—Democratizing elections is on the agenda in Oregon. Yesterday was the first time a state legislature has passed a bill that will give voters the chance to require both primary and general elections for state and federal offices to use ranked choice voting (RCV). Maine and Alaska use RCV as a result of citizen-driven ballot initiatives.
“Voters in Oregon, if the statewide referendum passes next year, would be able to rank candidates on a ballot in the order of their preference,” said Frank Knapp Jr., president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce (SCSBCC), which has endorsed RCV.
“This simple election change results in candidates running issue-oriented campaigns, finding solutions to problems acceptable to a wide variety of voters, running positive campaigns in order to be ranked high by voters, and candidates winning with a majority of the votes without runoffs,” Knapp continued. “Small businesses have their voices heard over the din of extreme partisans resulting in responsible policies being made.”
RCV is used in over 60 cities, counties and states across the county giving voters more options to support candidates that align with their views on issues. More and more states and cities are looking to adopt RCV to promote civility in their elections.
The Oregon referendum would also create a local option for municipalities to use RCV that eliminates costly runoffs in which few voters participate.
The SCSBCC and the SC Municipal Association support House Bill 4022, which would simply give municipalities the option of using RCV, also called Instant Runoff Voting. Cities in Utah already have this option.
“Fortunately, our SC legislature doesn’t have to wait for a statewide election to allow municipalities to choose a more democratic and less costly form of conducting elections,” said Knapp. “They can pass H.4022 when they return in January and join a growing movement.”