A Resolution of the Texas Forward Party Executive Committee
In Favor of Two Ranked Choice Voting Proposals in Texas
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) also known as Instant-Runoff Voting, Alternative Voting, or Preferential Voting has been in use around the world since the 1850s. Currently, 63 jurisdictions with over 13 million voters use RCV in the U.S. Four states (Maine, Alaska, Minnesota, and Hawaii) use RCV for federal elections and it is widely used in other countries around the world.
Support for RCV has been steadily growing in recent years. Voters have approved its use in 11 of the last 12 ballot initiatives held, including Nevada. It is also A recent University of Houston poll found that Texans favor the use of RCV by a margin of 44%-29% with 23% undecided.
Texas law is currently silent on the use of RCV, but rulings by the Secretary of State and the Attorney General have suggested it would violate the Texas Election Code in elections where a majority is required, such as local non-partisan municipal and school board elections.
Several bills have been filed in the current Texas Legislature which would enact or allow the use of RCV in various circumstances. There are two bills that the Executive Committee believes deserve consideration.
1. HB1444 - This bill allows military personnel and American citizens residing abroad to rank their choices in a potential runoff at the same time they cast their standard general election ballot. Doing so makes voting in a runoff more convenient for these voters, saves election officials the cost of mailing out separate runoff ballots, eliminates the risk of overseas voters not receiving their runoff ballots in time, and avoids potential delays in determining the winner of an election in a close race.
2. HB259 and SB359 – These bills would allow Texas municipalities and school districts to use RCV at the option of the governing bodies of those entities.
Note: Both of the bills use the term “preferential voting.”
It is resolved that the Executive Committee of the Forward Party of Texas encourages the members of the 88th Session of the Texas Legislature to enact the necessary amendments to Texas Election Code that will:
- Provide for the use of RCV for Americans living overseas, especially military service
members and their family members.
- Allow local governmental entities which conduct non-partisan elections, such as municipalities and school boards to use RCV in their elections. However, the Executive Committee believes that the option to adopt RCV at the local level should be decided by the voters and not the governing bodies of those entities as currently provided in HB259 and SB359. Also, if a governing body does not call for a vote on RCV, there should be a provision that allows voters to require a vote by petition.
Ranked choice voting is a common-sense voting reform that places the emphasis on candidates, not parties. Since voters rank more than one candidate, second and third choice votes are at stake, resulting in candidates being more likely to run civil campaigns. Candidates are rewarded for appealing to a broader base of voters, building coalitions, and acting on shared goals thereby reducing the influence of extremist politics. We feel that for
these reasons, RCV would be particularly appropriate for local non-partisan elections.
Also, the adoption of RCV in local elections, where a candidate must be elected by a majority, would avoid costly, low-turnout runoff elections. It is estimated that RCV would have saved over $6 million in 2020 alone in the cost of runoff elections.
Because the Texas Forward Party is committed to a grassroots approach to speaking out about policy issues, the Executive Committee conducted a survey of its members and supporters on this issue. Over 95% of those responding favored the use of RCV for overseas voters and in local, non-partisan elections.
Information on the Forward Party of Texas:
The Forward Party of Texas was formed in January 2022 and in August 2022 merged with the SAM Party of Texas and the Renew America Movement. Since its formation, the party has attracted nearly 10,000 supporters in 203 counties.
The Party is founded on the belief that our government should reflect common-sense solutions supported by a majority of Texans. The Forward Party of Texas stands for doing, not dividing. That means rejecting political extremes and working together to take real action on pressing public issues, particularly ones in which there is a broad consensus that is not reflected in current policy.
We recognize that disagreements about how we govern ourselves are inevitable. However, we believe those disagreements ought to be resolved through a civil, respectful, democratic process and that compromises on most issues are both necessary and beneficial. A commitment to electoral reforms like RCV, open primaries, and eliminating partisan gerrymandering are core values of the Forward Party.
More information regarding the party can be found at www.forwardparty.com/texas.
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