There’s a debate in West Virginia about whether to switch to ranked-choice voting. Our stance on the matter is obvious, but it’s important to consider what actually happens when states and locales decide to take a chance on RCV.
In Alameda County, California, a school Board race was thrown into chaos after a tabulation error caused the wrong candidate to win. Ultimately, it was only a lawsuit filed after an independent audit that fixed the problem. Because of RCV, it took four months for the actual winner to take his seat on the county school board. The distrust created by this error alone could discourage Alameda County voters from participating in future elections.
In Alaska, one of only two states using RCV in federal elections, Democratic congressional candidate Mary Peltola was able to win by garnering the most 2nd place votes. The Republican votes were split between Sarah Palin and Nick Begich. During the process, over 11,000 ballots were “exhausted” and thus not counted. These failures caused a group of Alaskans to start collecting signatures to get a ranked-choice voting repeal RCV using a ballot initiative on the ballot.
During the 2022 midterm elections, Maine’s Second Congressional District results were delayed due to a technical glitch. Voters were left in limbo, waiting for more than 16,000 ballots to be manually scanned. Incumbent Rep. Jared Golden was eventually announced the winner.
There are many more examples of ranked-choice voting’s failures. It risks increasing voter apathy, while bringing confusion and chaos where it's used. The West Virginia legislature should ban ranked-choice voting and maintain the integrity of their state elections.