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Ranked Choice Voting a possibility for future elections

Posted at 7:10 PM, Mar 03, 2020

COLORADO — With Colorado's election accessibility and security receiving national accolades, the first presidential primary in the state in 20 years caused some headaches for voters, especially supporters of candidates who dropped out days before Super Tuesday.

For voters who cast a vote for a candidate who left the race, their votes may or may not be counted. A candidate needed to officially withdraw with the Secretary of State's office in order for the votes to not count. Otherwise, the votes would go to the candidate - even if they were no longer in the race.

It's because of this primary election that Secretary of State Jena Griswold wants to take a closer look at "ranked choice voting" in Colorado. This is where voters rank their candidates on a scale instead of only selecting one candidate.

The process is not uncommon. Many cities and states use ranked choice voting in some elections.

State lawmakers, such as Senator Julie Gonzalez (Denver-D), voiced their concerns on Twitter this week. "There is a fix for this called RANKED CHOICE VOTING." the Senator tweeted.

The idea is that the voters who may have voted for a candidate who dropped out, may still have their vote counted for a candidate that may have been their second or third choice. It's a process former Secretary of State Wayne Williams says comes with some challenges.

"The questions people have to ask are 'are the advantages something that outweigh the disadvantages?'" Williams said.

Williams says one advantage is it could give other candidates more votes, and possibly a better chance at the majority. Williams does have concerns over how it could impact voter turnout, as well as additional money in elections.

"The more information people have the more likely people are to vote," said Williams, who voiced concerns over voters having knowledge of all the candidates on a ballot. He used the example of the city council race in Colorado Springs this past spring. Williams won one of three seats up for election with eleven candidates running.

"I know who my first three choices were, I'm not sure how I would've ranked eighth, ninth, and 10th and I went to all the forums!" Williams said.

While other cities and states still use ranked-choice voting, there are also some cities that have adopted ranked-choice and later repealed it. One of those cities includes Aspen, Colorado.