Connect with us


Bipartisan group of Wisconsin lawmakers propose ranked-choice voting and top-five primaries



MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A bipartisan group of Wisconsin lawmakers on Wednesday revived a push to implement ranked-choice voting and nonpartisan blanket primaries in the battleground state.

Under the new bill, candidates for the U.S. House and Senate would compete in a single statewide primary regardless of their political party, with the top five finishers advancing to the general election. Voters in the general election would then rank candidates in order of preference, a system that ensures winners are chosen by a majority.

It’s the second time the idea has received bipartisan support in the Republican-controlled Legislature. A nearly identical bill introduced in 2021 was never voted out of the Senate elections committee.

The goal “is not to change who gets elected; it is designed to change the incentives of those who do get elected,” authors of the bill said in a message asking other lawmakers to co-sponsor it.

“Partisan primaries can be very damaging, encouraging candidates to adopt more extreme partisan positions in order to come through a partisan primary,” Democratic Sen. Jeff Smith, one of the bill’s authors, said in a statement. “This bill will improve legislators’ accountability to their constituents and incentivize cooperation rather than competition.”

Ranked-choice voting has been adopted in Maine and Alaska and proposed in numerous state legislatures in recent years.

Under the system, if a candidate receives a majority of first-place votes, they win. If that doesn’t happen, the lowest vote-getter is eliminated and anyone who had that person as their first choice instead has their vote go to their second-ranked candidate.

The process continues until one candidate has over 50% of the votes. In the current system, candidates can win without a majority.

Supporters of ranked-choice voting say it will decrease polarization by pushing candidates to appeal to more than just their party and will also encourage independent and third-party candidates. Critics, who have mostly been Republicans, say the system is too complicated and could be abused by voters who want to game it.

Harm Venhuizen is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Continue Reading


  1. nick

    September 21, 2023 at 8:16 am

    Interesting, the two most populated areas of the state are solidly Democratic. Guess who the candidates are who would receive the most votes?
    Almost every large urban area has problems due to the voters in those areas cutting their own throats by voting for progressives and liberals.
    Not well known because the media does not want the public to know that.

  2. Nan

    September 22, 2023 at 6:30 am

    No thanks. Voters from crime infested, corrupt cities would choose our representatives that would ruin the rest of the state. Lets NOT become Minnesota and Illinois! Keep the partisan system so politics can swing both ways.

  3. Kevin

    September 22, 2023 at 11:07 am

    NO, NO, NO – democrats working on figuring out another way to cheat. You cast your vote for the candidate you want, if they lose, they lose. You don’t get to change your vote to the next available person that aligns with your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *