By John Birch Society | December 12, 2023
Members of the Wisconsin Legislature are seeking to pass legislation that would implement ranked-choice voting (RCV) in the state. The Legislature must reject RCV and the detrimental effects it would have on election integrity.
Assembly Bill 563 (AB 563) and Senate Bill 528 (SB 528) are bipartisan bills sponsored by nine Republican representatives, nine Democratic representatives, two Republican senators, and two Democratic senators.
If enacted, these bills would implement RCV for all general elections for U.S. House and Senate. Additionally, they would create a California-style “jungle primary” for primary elections for those offices.
RCV threatens election integrity and undermines the electorate’s ability to choose the best candidate in elections. The May 10, 2021 issue of The New American magazine explains how ranked-choice voting works and why it would harm U.S. elections:
[It] is a complicated system that requires voters to assign a rank to each candidate on the ballot, regardless of whether they support that candidate. If no candidate is ranked first by a majority of voters, the lowest-performing candidate is eliminated. Voters who gave their highest ranking to the eliminated candidate then have their second choice counted instead. This process repeats until one candidate receives a majority.
As implied above, ranked-choice voting can lead to candidates with little genuine support winning elections. The system confuses voters, distracts from policy issues, and forces voters to vote for candidates they otherwise would not support. In the United States, ranked-choice voting was enacted in Maine in 2016 and Alaska in 2020. These efforts, primarily backed by liberals, led to Republican U.S. Representative from Maine Bruce Poliquin losing to Democrat Jared Golden in 2018 despite winning a plurality in the first round.
RCV also allowed U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski to win re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2022 against conservative Republican Kelly Tshibaka, despite Murkowski’s inability to win a Republican primary under a traditional election system. Notably, AB 563 and SB 528 would impose a nearly identical system to what Alaska currently has.
With any voting system, the more complicated it is, the greater the risk of manipulation strategies or fraud. Additionally, RCV would make hand counts much more difficult, creating an excuse for computerized vote counting. By contrast, genuine election integrity must involve hand-counted paper ballots.
Contact your state representative and senator, and urge them to oppose AB 563, SB 528, and any other bill that implements ranked-choice voting in any way. Instead, tell them to enact measures that strengthen election integrity in Wisconsin.
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