New RCV bans on the table, but bills supporting ranked-choice outnumber opposition legislation in 2024 sessions

Republican legislators have introduced new ranked-choice voting (RCV) prohibitions in five states so far this year. These efforts come after three states approved Republican-sponsored bans last year.

The number of active bills supporting RCV continues to outnumber those banning or repealing its use. 

Of the 75 RCV bills currently active in state legislatures: 

  • 55 would allow or require a new use of ranked-choice voting, including two bills in Florida that would repeal a statewide ban. 
  • Nine would ban or otherwise prohibit its use.
  • Three, all in Alaska, would repeal an existing use of RCV.
  • Eight would make changes to existing uses of RCV or authorize studies on the use of the electoral system.

Twenty-three of the 75 active bills were introduced this year. The remaining 52 were introduced in 2023 and carried over to current legislative sessions.

One of the 23 bills introduced this year has advanced beyond the initial stage: Republican-sponsored SB355 in Georgia. The bill, which prohibits the use of ranked-choice voting in the state, passed the Georgia Senate 31-19 on Jan. 26. No jurisdiction in Georgia, which has a Republican trifecta, currently uses RCV. Military and overseas voters use ranked ballots when voting in runoff elections. The legislation makes an exception for these voters. 

Of the remaining bills introduced since the beginning of the year:  

  • Republicans have sponsored five in four states: Arizona, Missouri, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. All five bills would ban RCV. One other Republican-sponsored ban has been pre-filed in Oklahoma, where the session begins on Feb. 5th.
  • Democrats have sponsored 17 bills in nine states. Fifteen of these bills would newly allow or require the use of RCV for certain elections. 

Of carried over bills, only Alaska’s AB4 has advanced. It would repeal the state’s use of ranked-choice voting and open top-four primary system. Voters approved the use of both systems in 2020 when they passed Alaska Ballot Measure 2 50.55% to 49.45%. The repeal bill was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee with a favorable recommendation on Jan. 18. Republicans sponsored AB4.  

Separately, the group Alaskans for Honest Elections submitted around 42,000 signatures on Jan. 12 to the Division of Elections in support of the Alaska Repeal Top-Four Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative. The campaign needs 26,705 valid signatures for the measure to move to the next step in the process—the Alaska Legislature. The Legislature can approve the initiative or let it go to the ballot for voters to decide on Nov. 5.

Other noteworthy bills carried over from 2023 include:

  • Wisconsin’s AB563, a bipartisan bill with 11 Democratic and Republican sponsors apiece. The bill, which received a public hearing on Jan. 9, would implement ranked-choice voting for congressional elections. Wisconsin currently has a divided government, with Democrats controlling the governorship and Republicans controlling both chambers of the legislature.
  • Ohio’s SB137, a bipartisan bill with one Democratic and one Republican sponsor. The bill would prohibit the use of ranked-choice voting in Ohio, and has received two hearings in the Senate General Government Committee. The last hearing occurred on Dec. 12, 2023. Ohio has a Republican trifecta. 

In 2023, legislators introduced 116 ranked-choice voting bills nationwide. Eleven of these bills were enacted, including new prohibitions in Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota. No state adopted the use of RCV for the first time through legislation last year, but lawmakers in Vermont did expand its use of RCV in the state’s largest city, Burlington. In total, 81 of the 116 bills (69.8%) allowed or required the use of RCV for certain elections, while 18 bills (15.5%) repealed or prohibited the use of RCV.   

Currently, two states, Alaska and Maine, use ranked-choice voting in statewide elections. Hawaii also uses ranked-choice voting for special congressional elections. Thirteen other states use ranked-choice voting in some local elections. 

Five states with Republican trifectas—Florida, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, and Tennessee—have passed laws banning or prohibiting the use of ranked-choice voting statewide. The five state bans have all occurred since 2022, each through legislation.

Two states—Nevada and Oregon—are currently scheduled to vote on ballot measures this year that would establish new uses of ranked-choice voting.

To learn more about ranked-choice voting, click here. To use our Legislation Tracker to search for RCV-related bills and other legislation, click here. Also, check out our recent four-part On the Ballot series in which we took a comprehensive look at RCV and featured guests taking on different parts of—and perspectives on—the RCV story.