What do Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Springfield (IL) have in common?
All have used ranked ballots for military and overseas voters for various state and federal elections. They issue two ballots to overseas and military voters. The first is a standard ballot, on which voters select one candidate like in most elections. The second is a ranked ballot. These ballots allow voters to rank as many candidates as they want in order of preference, so their votes can be cast to their preferred candidate in the event of a runoff.
Did you know that military personnel often fact difficulties voting in runoff elections because of how quickly they take place after the initial election? Dependent on the US Postal Service, our service members often don’t receive the runoff ballots in time to vote and there is not enough time to mail them back before election. In places using RCV, the ranked ballot that was filled out with the initial ballot is counted by hand, with the vote counted for its highest ranked candidate in the runoff.
RCV ballots can also improve nominating elections for military and overseas voters. It’s common for candidates to drop out of the nominating race. Local voters can change their vote until the very last minute, but those who must mail their ballots don’t have this luxury. Allowing those voters to use a ranked ballot to indicate the full breadth of their choice ensures their first choice of those left in the race will be counted.