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February 23, 2024

Illinois Legislator Seeking Ranked Choice Voting for Presidential Primaries

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On March 14, 2023

Illinois (ECWd) –

Illinois State Representative Maurice A. West has introduced HB 2807 which calls for Ranked Choice Voting for Presidential Primaries.  One can only wonder if this is the first step to another bill that takes this option to apply to all elected positions in Illinois.  The bill status can be viewed at this link.

What is Ranked Choice Voting?

If two candidates are on the ballot the highest vote winner wins.

If three candidates or more are on the ballot, the election may take some time before ever being completed due to the process.  The lowest vote winner is tossed from the ballot and their votes are transferred to the next ranked active candidate.  This happens clear up to 5 people on the ballot.

As an example, below are the vote totals for a three-way race for President in the primary.

  • Candidate A – 1,000,000 votes
  • Candidate B – 500,001 votes
  • Candidate C – 500,000 votes

Candidate C is dropped from the tabulation and all their votes are transferred to Candidate B.  In the above example, Candidate B would be declared the winner because the transfer votes of the loser in the first round tabulation bring Candidate B to a one-vote lead over the people’s clear first choice.

This process is the same for a 5 candidate race and the vote counting and transfers go on and on until a person has 50% of the vote.  If you thought vote counting was taking longer than necessary, this process could add weeks if not months to the selection of a winner, if that is what you want to call them.

By all indications, this is yet another way to manipulate vote totals that have the clear potential of swaying the results contrary to the voter’s wishes.

The Elections and Ethics committee is hearing this bill today.

We encourage the public to voice their position on this proposed legislation. Witness slips can be filled out at this link either for (Proponent) or against (Opponent).

HB 28707 Ranked Choice Voting

 

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6 Comments
  • Daniel Sleezer
    Posted at 13:17h, 14 March

    I don’t think your example is correct. You assumed that all of Candidate C’s votes went to Candidate B . In Ranked Voting C’s respective votes will go to whomever their 2nd pick is on those ballots.

  • JohnThomas
    Posted at 14:17h, 14 March

    Another dense little Democrat dutifully marching to the “destroy America” orders of his masters.

  • Larry Garfield
    Posted at 10:08h, 15 March

    The description of RCV in this article is entirely wrong and misleading.

    When voting for candidates A, B, and C, voters have the opportunity to cast their first choice *and* second choice at the same time. Then just the first choice votes are counted. If someone has a majority they win. If not, as in this example, then the lowest ranked candidate (C) is eliminated. Those votes do *not* automatically all transfer to candidates B. They transfer to whoever each voter listed as their second choice. It’s entirely the voter’s choice who to list as their second-favorite.

    If every single C voter listed B as their second choice, then yes, B would win… as B should, because given the option of only A or B, a majority of voters prefer B. However, that’s extremely unlikely. Some C voters will likely list A as their second choice, and some will list B. Both of those groups get their voices heard equally, and they’re not penalized for having a first choice who isn’t popular with others. Their full vote still counts even after their first choice is eliminated.

    In the extreme example here, it’s virtually guaranteed that A will win. He needs only a single C voter to list A second. Most examples are not this extreme, however.

    A much more common pattern is something like:

    A: 100 votes
    B: 90 votes
    C: 40 votes
    D: 35 votes

    This happens a *lot* in primaries at all levels. Under the current system (plurality voting), A would win even though a clear majority of voters voted for “not A”. The B, C, and D “not A” candidates diluted the vote, and voters who voted for C or D are effectively penalized for not voting for B and ignoring their preferred candidate. That’s bad.

    With RCV, voters cast their second, third, and fourth choices as well. So we can eliminate D and count the second choice of those 30 voters. They are not penalized for expressing their preference or D, and their voice is still heard. If nearly all of those D voters prefer A next, then A would win, and rightly so. If all of those D voters prefer B, then B would end up winning (135 votes, which is a majority), and rightly so. More likely, the D voters would split among the remaining candidates and no one has a majority. So then we can eliminate C, and count those voters’ next choice. The winner could be A or B, depending on what the voters prefer between those two candidates… and rightly so!

    RCV allows voters to express their true beliefs about the candidates without penalizing themselves and without vote splitting. In just statewide and federal elections in the Illinois 2022 primary, a non-majority winner happened more than 9 times! And that’s not even counting the state legislature primaries. That is what is “contrary to the voter’s wishes.”

    Vote splitting is a real problem facing Illinois, and RCV is a simple, effective, and well-tested solution to it that empowers voters to always have their true wishes counted.

  • Royce Kohler
    Posted at 12:01h, 21 March

    That is not even close to how ranked-choice voting works.

    • John Kraft & Kirk Allen
      Posted at 15:12h, 21 March

      It is exactly how the legislation reads.

      • Daniel L Sleezer
        Posted at 10:52h, 23 March

        I concur with Larry G. John/Kirk — do you disagree with Larry Garfield’s detailed description?

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