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Ivey Won’t Say If She’ll Sign A Bill Safeguarding Alabama Elections From Ranked-Choice Voting

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The Republican-controlled Alabama House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday prohibiting the use of ranked-choice voting (RCV) in elections. But GOP Gov. Kay Ivey won’t say whether she’ll sign the bill into law.

SB 186 stipulates that “Ranked-choice voting shall not be used in determining the election or nomination of any candidate to any local, state, or federal office.” This law would not, however, apply to “electors who are entitled to vote absentee ballot under the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.”

The measure passed the House 74-28 after previously clearing the Senate (34-0-1) last month.

Under RCV, which critics often refer to as “rigged-choice voting,” voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of first-choice votes in the first round of voting, the last-place finisher is eliminated, and his votes are reallocated to the voter’s second-choice candidate. This process continues until one candidate receives a majority of votes.

Having cleared both chambers of the legislature, SB 186 now heads to Ivey’s desk for signature. Gina Maiola, Ivey’s communications director, told The Federalist, “We are awaiting the bill to be transmitted to our office,” but didn’t say whether the governor will sign it.

If signed by Ivey, the measure would take effect on Oct. 1.

Meanwhile, Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen celebrated the legislature’s passage of SB 186, saying in a Friday statement: “Elections conducted using ranked choice voting violate the fundamental principle of ‘one-person one-vote.'”

“Ranked choice voting makes winners out of losers by redistributing votes to losing candidates until one candidate is assigned a majority of the votes,” Allen said. “Alabama elections are fair, secure, and transparent. Elections that utilize ranked choice voting have no place in Alabama.”

As Allen alluded to, states and localities that have employed RCV have experienced numerous problems with their elections. A study published last year by the Foundation for Government Accountability, for example, found that RCV ballots are often discarded due to “exhausted” or “trashed” ballots. This can happen when voters rank one or even several — but not every — candidate on their ballot, and those ballots end up tossed because their choices got eliminated.

In Alaska’s 2022 special congressional election, for example, more than 11,000 “exhausted” ballots were thrown out because those electors “voted for only one Republican candidate and no one else.”

RCV has also been shown to produce election results that appear to contradict the desires of voters. Democrat Mary Peltola won the aforementioned 2022 Alaska special congressional race even though “nearly 60 percent of voters [cast] their ballots for a Republican.” A similar scenario played out in a 2018 Maine congressional race, in which then-incumbent GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin lost to Democrat Jared Golden despite Poliquin winning the most votes in the first round of voting.

RCV is also responsible for ensuring GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s reelection over a more conservative challenger during the 2022 midterms.

States that have prohibited RCV in their elections include Florida, Idaho, Tennessee, Montana, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Oklahoma.

This article has been updated since publication to include comments from Gov. Ivey’s office.


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