Ranked-choice voting initiative will not appear on the ballot in Missouri

On August 9, Secretary of State John Ashcroft (R) announced that a top-four ranked-choice voting initiative will not make the Missouri general election ballot due to an insufficient number of valid signatures submitted.

The campaign behind the citizen initiative, Better Elections, needed to submit at least 171,592 valid signatures in order to qualify the initiative for the ballot. To receive a Certificate of Sufficiency, a minimum number of valid signatures must be obtained in six of the eight congressional districts in Missouri. Missouri is one of sixteen states with a signature distribution requirement for citizen-initiated measures, and of those sixteen, Missouri is one of five states where the distribution requirement is based on congressional districts.

In the tabulated results put out by Secretary Ashcroft’s office, the initiative did not meet the valid signature requirement in any of Missouri’s eight congressional districts.

Another citizen initiative, a measure that would legalize marijuana in Missouri, did pass the verification process and will appear on the ballot in November.

Scott Charton, a spokesman for the Better Elections campaign, said the campaign will “remain committed to our core mission: giving voters better and more choices in elections, empowering them to hold politicians accountable when they lose their way, and ensuring integrity in elections.”

The initiative would have changed the electoral system in Missouri for electing state executive, state legislative, and congressional officials. It would have replaced partisan primaries with open top-four primaries, and would have established ranked-choice voting for general elections, in which voters could rank the four candidates that succeeded from the primaries. The system would have been similar to Alaska’s, where voters approved an initiative in 2020. In addition to Alaska, Maine also allows ranked-choice voting in federal elections and certain statewide primaries, and Hawaii has also enacted that ranked-choice voting for federal special elections would take place starting in 2023.

Ranked-choice voting will also appear on the ballot in another state this year–Nevada has put a top-five ranked choice voting initiative on the ballot.

Currently, there are five measures on the ballot in Missouri: three legislatively referred constitutional amendments, one citizen-initiated constitutional amendment, and one constitutional convention question.

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