Mississippi bans ranked-choice voting in elections

"It seems like banning ranked-choice voting has become more popular than implementing it," Trent England said.
A sample ranked-choice voting ballot.

Mississippi has banned ranked-choice voting (RCV) in its state and local elections, joining eight other states.

Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed a bill into law on Monday that revises the timing of runoff elections in the state beginning in January and bans RCV starting in July.

RCV is an election process gaining traction across the country, but it faces pushback from both sides of the political aisle. With RCV, if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, then a runoff system is triggered. When voters cast their ballots, they rank each candidate in order of first-to-last. 

If one candidate doesn't reach the 50% plus-one vote threshold, then the candidate with the least amount of first-choice votes is eliminated, then second-choice votes from those who voted for the last-place finisher are reallocated among the remaining candidates and tallied – in a process that continues until a candidate receives the majority of the vote. 

Proponents of RCV argue that the system results in representative outcomes and majority rule, incentivizes positive campaigning, allows for more voter choice, and saves money when replacing preliminaries or runoffs, according to pro-RCV organization FairVote.

Alaska and Maine are the only two states to have RCV at the state level, and three counties and 45 cities use the voting system for local elections.

"Congratulations to Governor Reeves, Secretary of State Michael Watson, and the Mississippi legislature for banning ranked-choice voting," Jason Snead, executive director of Honest Elections Project Action said in a statement Thursday. "Ranked-choice voting is a convoluted system that makes it harder to vote and turns elections into a black box, sowing distrust in voting. The American people want elections that are fair, honest, and transparent, and that’s why nine states have now banned ranked-choice voting."

Trent England, co-chairman of the Stop RCV Coalition, said in a statement Wednesday that "[b]y banning ranked-choice voting, the Mississippi State Legislator and Gov. Reeves have taken a stand against a dangerous and untrustworthy election trend. It seems like banning ranked-choice voting has become more popular than implementing it."

Mississippi followed Alabama, which banned RCV last Friday.