Written Testimony Submitted to the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections
John Ketcham submitted a written testimony to the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections.
I thank the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections for the honor and opportunity of providing this testimony on 2023 Assembly Bill 563, and electoral reforms such as ranked choice voting (RCV) and Final-Five voting (FFV). No single electoral system is ideal for every jurisdiction and elected office. States and localities should decide each system’s tradeoffs in light of their voters’ preferences and values. Within the framework of the United States’ federalist system of government, voters can choose from a wide range of reasonable electoral systems, subject to constitutional and federal statutory constraints.
Wisconsinites and their lawmakers must carefully consider the tradeoffs of each electoral system, ensuring that the chosen system accurately represents majority preferences and encourages meaningful democratic participation for political minorities. My testimony aims to provide some clarity in this decision-making process and describe some of New York City’s experiences following its 2019 adoption of single-winner RCV for local primary and specialelections.
It is critical that these deliberations keep ranked-choice voting analytically distinct from Final Five voting. Though FFV necessarily entails the use of one form of RCV for general elections, RCV may be implemented as a standalone replacement for the voting system used in primary and general elections in Wisconsin and elsewhere. FFV, by contrast, is a more ambitious and comprehensive reform than RCV alone, one that mandates a specific structure for primary and general elections.
John Ketcham is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute.