Ranked Choice Voting in Presidential Primaries

The current “one-choice only” voting method in presidential primaries often produces undemocratic primary results, especially with a large number of candidates. That is because both political parties require presidential primary candidates to receive a minimum percentage of votes in order to win any delegates. Voters for candidates who do not exceed the delegate threshold cast “wasted” votes that have no effect whatsoever on the primary results, while a candidate who received a minority share of votes above the threshold could end up winning a majority of the state’s delegates.

In 2019, we ran a campaign to get New Hampshire to implement ranked choice voting for its presidential primaries. The use of ranked choice voting would end “wasted votes” and allow voters to express more nuanced preferences in a crowded presidential primary. Ultimately, New Hampshire did not pass ranked choice voting but our campaign popularized the idea for future presidential primaries.