The Kansas Legislature is about to consider a radical change in voting. It’s called “ranked-choice voting,” and if it passes, you’ll be asked not just to vote for one candidate when you fill out your ballot, but to rank candidates by your order of preference. And those second and third choices could end up getting counted and even deciding close elections. “This year, you could see major changes (in voting), maybe the biggest in 100 years in this state since women got the right to vote,” said Russell Fox, a professor of political science at Friends University. House and Senate lawmakers will hold a special hearing on ranked-choice voting on Oct. 27. If they like what they hear, they could fast-track a bill for the session, which begins in January.
Ranked-choice voting “is kind of like an instant runoff, done with one ballot; a lot of large cities use it,” said Rep. Keith Esau, R-Olathe, chairman of the House Elections Committee and a candidate for secretary of state.
Cities using ranked-choice voting now include San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., and Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.
Voters in Maine approved the system for statewide use starting next year, but the Supreme Court there ruled it partially conflicts with the state Constitution and can only be used in federal and primary elections.