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June 16, 2024 7:25 am

Local News

Wisconsin Legislature Considers Ranked Choice Voting Bill

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The Wisconsin legislature held a hearing on a bipartisan bill to change how Wisconsinites choose their Congressional candidates by asking them to rank their preferred candidates rather than vote for a single one. This is the first public hearing on the bill, which is sponsored by a bipartisan group of 21 lawmakers. 

The bill would implement a “final five” ranked choice voting system, under which all candidates for a House or Senate seat would appear on one primary election ballot and the top five vote getters would advance to the general election. Voters would then be asked to rank the five candidates in order of preference. If no candidate wins a majority of first place votes outright, the lowest voter-getter would be eliminated, and the process would continue until a candidate receives a majority of the votes. 

A final five system would eliminate partisan primaries and push candidates to be more focused on issues impacting the communities they seek to represent and avoid negative campaigning. It is unclear whether the bill has enough support to become law. 

Proponents of ranked choice voting say the system would give voters the opportunity to vote for candidates most reflective of their views, while opponents of ranked choice voting say the system is too complex. 

Maine and Alaska are the only two states to have adopted ranked choice voting for federal elections.