Ranked Choice Voting in 2021: State Legislative Approaches

October 14, 2021

See a selection of RCV legislation from around the country organized by their mechanism and particular focus.

Recent years have brought increased interest from policymakers around the country in implementing ranked choice voting (RCV), and 2021 continued the trend. Among proposals in more than 30 states, advancements in Colorado established RCV for local elections; Utah passed legislation that simplifies the process for cities implementing RCV; and Georgia approved RCV for military and overseas voters. The general trend in 2021’s RCV legislation is one of assessment and gradual implementation, particularly at lower levels of government or for nonpartisan offices. Below, see a selection of RCV legislation from around the country organized by their mechanism and particular focus. This list of bills includes a spectrum of policy proposals with regard to RCV in 2021’s state legislative sessions.

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*Indicates bipartisan sponsorship

Local Elections

  1. CO HB1071: Establishes RCV for local elections. (Signed into law, June 2021.)

  2. ME LD859: Authorizes RCV for local elections. 

State Elections

  1. IL HB2416: Establishes RCV for state legislative and executive office

Multi-level Implementation

  1. *DC B24-372: Establishes RCV for primaries and general elections for both the District and federal elections.

  2. NJ S1820: Establishes RCV for select federal and state offices, including presidential primaries and general elections.

  3. *WI SB250: Establishes non-partisan primary elections and top-five RCV for general elections.

Military and Overseas Voting

  1. *GA HB59: Establishes RCV for military and overseas voters in 2-round runoff elections. (Core provisions signed into law as part of SB202).

Implementing RCV through Constitutional Amendments

  1. NM SJR22: Proposes state constitutional amendment to establish RCV for all nonpartisan and local elections and to enable RCV for all partisan elections.

  2. PA HB1772: Proposes a state constitutional amendment which requires RCV for state elections.

Election Logistics

  1. *NY A06172: Requires New York City board of elections to release full ranking data from all ranked choice voting elections.

  2. UT HB75: Establishes procedures relating to the state’s municipal RCV Pilot Project making it easier for cities to use RCV in 2021. (Signed into law, March 2021).

Pilot Programs and Task Forces

  1. *NJ S3250: Creates a task force to evaluate RCV along with other reforms.

  2. NY S00824: Creates a pilot program for RCV that may be used in up to 10 local governments, selected by the state board of elections.

For more details on any of these bills, more examples of each type of legislation, or any other RCV related questions, please reach out to [email protected].

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Rep. Sara Jacobs


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