Gem State Roundup
Idaho House introduces bill to ban ranked choice voting
In this file photo, voters fill out their ballots at Whittier Elementary in Boise on Nov. 2, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)
This story was first published on the Idaho Reports blog on Feb. 21, 2023.
The House State Affairs Committee introduced a bill on Tuesday to prohibit the use of ranked choice voting and instant runoff voting in Idaho.
Rep. Dale Hawkins, R-Fernwood, brought the bill, saying its purpose is to preserve a fair and transparent electoral process.
“To ensure every vote is counted accurately, and the candidate with the most votes is elected,” Hawkins told the committee.
In ranked choice voting, rather than holding a runoff election between the candidates with the highest votes, voters rank candidates in order of their preference, and the lowest vote earners are eliminated in rounds until one candidate earns a majority. The process of ranking candidates by preference eliminates the need for a runoff election.
Only two states, Alaska and Maine, use ranked-choice voting. Some counties in California, Washington and Oregon also use ranked choice voting, as do several cities across the country.
Hawkins’ bill would prohibit the use of ranked choice for federal, state and local elections in Idaho.
At the beginning of the legislative session, Idaho Republican Party Chairwoman Dorothy Moon outlined party priorities including a GOP resolution against ranked choice voting.
The bill must still get a full hearing before the committee to continue in the legislative process.
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