Connecticut voters could see a shake-up at the ballot box in the near future as state legislators consider a bill to allow municipalities to implement ranked-choice in local elections. House Bill 5133, An Act Concerning Ranked-Choice Voting For Municipal Offices, was introduced by State Rep. David Michel (D-Stamford) on Tuesday.
The state’s current election system has come under fire in recent years, with critics taking aim at Connecticut’s restrictive ballot access laws and anemic primary rates which are consistently among the lowest in the nation. Connecticut has also faced multiple legal challenges to its ballot access, with one such lawsuit currently working its way through the Second Court of Appeals.
Ranked-choice voting is a proposed solution to the state’s electoral woes as the system aims to mitigate the problems that come with a crowded ballot and vote-splitting concerns, according to FairVote, a nonprofit organization that focuses on electoral reforms. Instead of casting a ballot for a single candidate, in a ranked-choice voting system, voters rank candidates in order of their preference: first, second, third, etc.
Lamont, who secured the endorsement of the Griebel-Frank party because of his commitment to support ranked-choice voting in federal and municipal elections, expressed his support for ranked-choice voting during his second inauguration last week, saying that the system could, “take some of the sting out of politics and bring some of the decency back to public service.”
So far, ranked-choice voting has been implemented in at least 50 jurisdictions across the country, including Maine and Alaska, as well as major cities like New York City, San Francisco and Cambridge, MA. Though, the system is not without drawbacks. Ranked-choice voting has been criticized for being complicated and confusing for those unfamiliar with the system. However, research has found that voters are capable of understanding the system.