NH Ranked Choice Voting
More Choice, More Voice
- HB 1264 is a bi-partisan bill with a good cross section of Republicans, Democrats and independents, meaning it is a non-partisan bill with broad-based support.
- HB 1264 is only an enabling bill that in itself does not establish ranked choice voting, but only enables municipalities (municipal elections) and parties (primaries) to take the steps necessary to opt-in, if they so choose.
- HB 1264 does not impose anything on anyone. It simply allows municipalities to opt-in to use RCV for municipal elections, if they so choose (by following their own procedures to get it passed at the local level); and it allows Parties to opt-in to use RCV in primary elections, if they so choose (by following their own procedures to get it approved).
- A choice to opt-in by one municipality would not bind or have any effect on any other municipality, and a choice to opt-in by one Party would not bind or have any effect on any other Party.
The electoral landscape in any given Party (or municipality) is constantly in flux: the circumstances, the divisions, the number of potential candidates, etc. are prone to upending at any time. Parties and municipalities will be glad to have the option IN CASE if they want to exercise it. If they decide not to use it, that is fine, but they won't want to be in the position where they realize they really want to use RCV, only to find that it's too late to start from square one to get a bill passed before they can even consider it.
Candidates elected in primaries using RCV will likely do better in general elections (Governor Youngkin of Virginia, for example, was elected to be the Nominee using RCV; and with a broader base of support, he went on to win the general election for his Party for the first time in a long time.)
As the RNC and DNC are both potentially thinking about doing away with NH being the FITN primary state (thinking NH is not as representative as some of the other states), introducing RCV into the mix may help keep NH relevant as a valuable FITN primary state. At the beginning of presidential primary season, there are A LOT of candidates. NH Voters get to know them all and certainly would have opinions about ranking them. By using RCV, we will be able to give the nation a good picture of where the electorate stands (not just who won, but who else voters like and which candidates are getting support from other candidates’ voters). (Note that because presidential primaries elect delegates for the national convention, RCV in a presidential primary only runs rounds until all remaining candidates have crossed the delegate eligible threshold.)
Keep the following in mind:
- RCV rounds can be run very quickly. RCV itself does not delay election results. Local elections officials would report 1st choice numbers the same as they always have, and that will produce a winner in many cases. If counting further RCV rounds is needed, a well executed plan would allow the final RCV round results to be available within hours, not days.
- RCV can be implemented in hand count towns, and they may continue to hand count easily.
- RCV costs are low & could even save money for some municipalities. NH has HAVA funds to replace our outdated voting machines (which are already being certified by the SoS), and any/all new machines are RCV ready.
- HB 1264 is fully constitutional, without any constitutional concerns whatsoever.
- RCV works like a run-off election (which many states already use), but is done instantly, on one simple ballot (without the added cost/time of another election).
- RCV is a proven and tested method shown repeatedly--across many states, towns, nations, and organizations and over decades' use--to be easy to understand, easy to implement, and easy to administer.
- Many private non-profit organizations are ready and willing to help educate elections officials as well as voters and the public at large at no charge. RCV education efforts have been very successful everywhere RCV has been implemented. Data from RCV elections show very low error rates (comparable to those in non-RCV elections). RCV exit polls show that voters universally find RCV very easy to understand and utilize, and that voters like it and favor its continued use.
HB 1264 supports the principle of local control by opt-in and gives voters
More Choice and More Voice.
- Encourages competition without the problems of vote-splitting
- Eliminates the spoiler effect
- Does away with strategic voting
- Lets voters vote their conscience
- Curbs negative campaigning
- Levels the playing field
- Better reflects voters' preferences and the will of the people
- Ensures voters are electing candidates with the most voter support!