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Idaho GOP targets ranked choice voting in new bill

A sign in the forefront reads "Vote Here" with an arrow that points to a library building in the background.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Republican Party wants state lawmakers to preemptively ban counties from using ranked choice voting in elections.

State GOP chair Dorothy Moon, who unsuccessfully ran for Secretary of State last year, published an op-ed over the weekend.

“The people of Idaho need to affirm our Framers’ vision and ban this silly idea from our elections,” Moon wrote.

The push coincides with a bill introduced Tuesday morning in a House committee that would outlaw the practice.

“The purpose is to preserve a fair and transparent elecorial [sic] process in Idaho,” said Rep. Dale Hawkins, one of the proposal’s sponsors.

The method allows voters to select candidates in their order of preference. If no candidate earns more than a 50 percent majority, the contest instantly goes to a runoff by eliminating candidates with the lowest vote total in each round.

If a voter’s preferred candidate is out of the race, their next highest choice would count.

Both Alaska and Maine use ranked choice voting statewide. Nevada voters could amend their state’s constitution to implement the method next year.

Several other local government entities across the country also use it.

Supporters of ranked choice voting say it ensures a candidate has a true support of the majority in crowded races.

The bill still needs a public hearing before it could go to the full House for consideration.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2023 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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