Ranked-choice voting (Missouri)

This ballot proposal would amend the Missouri Constitution to implement ranked-choice voting in general elections for the offices of United States Senator, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and State Auditor.

This petition should be approved for circulation around the second week of September.  If enough signatures are gathered by May 3, 2020, it will appear on the ballot in Missouri on November 3, 2018.  If approved by voters, it will become law 30 days later.

This is the full text of the proposed amendment:

Be it resolved by the people of the state of Missouri that the Constitution be amended:

Article VIII, Section 24 of the Constitution is enacted to read as follows:

Article VIII, Section 24.  In general elections for the offices of United States Senator, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and State Auditor, voters will be given the opportunity to rank candidates in order of preference.  

For offices elected by this method of ranked-choice voting, the ballot must be simple and easy to understand and allow a voter to rank up to five candidates for an office in order of preference. A voter may include no more than one write-in candidate among that voter’s ranked choices for each office.

For all offices elected by ranked-choice voting, the Secretary of State shall tabulate the votes according to the following method: Tabulation proceeds in sequential rounds.  In the first round, only first choice votes are tabulated.  If a candidate receives a majority of the votes (fifty percent of the total votes cast, plus one vote) that candidate is elected. If no candidate receives a majority of the first-choice votes cast, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and the candidates listed as the second choice on ballots cast for the candidate being eliminated are distributed among the remaining candidates. In subsequent rounds, a voter’s third, fourth, or fifth choice may be utilized, in order, as needed.  Ballots that do not rank any continuing candidate, that contain votes for more than one candidate at the same ranking, or in which a voter has left a ranking blank once that ranking would have been utilized, will be considered to be “exhausted ballots” and will not be counted in that round, or subsequent rounds.  This process is repeated in as many rounds as needed until one candidate wins election by receiving at least fifty percent plus one of the total valid votes tabulated in that round.

Election officials shall determine a random selection algorithm, prior to tabulation, to resolve ties between candidates.  If a tie occurs at any point in the tabulation procedure and tabulation cannot proceed until the tie is resolved, then the random selection algorithm shall resolve the tie.