Beware the Rank Choice Voting Scheme

Beware of those who want to fundamentally change America’s election systems; there is usually a self-serving motivation behind it. Consider Rank Choice Voting (RCV), which purports to solve the problem of divisive two-party elections, but in the end, can lead to mediocre winners who never received a majority of the votes cast. Moreover, it reallocates a voter’s choice to candidates they do not support, and it opens more opportunities to rig the system through this complicated process.

Instead of voting for a candidate that best shares your values (even if not perfectly), RCV has voters rank candidates in order of preference, even candidates the voter does not support. If no one wins more than 50% in the first round, the candidate in last place is dropped. Voters who ranked that candidate first lose their first choice, and now their second choice is counted and distributed accordingly among those remaining. If still no one receives 50% of the vote, the next lowest candidate drops, and those voters’ next choice is counted and distributed accordingly to the remaining candidates. This continues until someone wins 50% of the vote.

Through this process, a faux majority is fabricated to come up with a winner that was never the majority’s choice.

Disenfranchises Voters

RCV often leaves voters disenfranchised because many voters will not rank all candidates – especially those with which they strongly disagree. If their top choices don’t get 50%, their ballot is exhausted, leaving them out of the rest of the process. That’s what happened in a 2021 New York race ending in more than 140,000 ballots being thrown out after a couple of rounds. All those voters were left out of the final decision. It’s one thing to have your vote counted and be on the losing end; it is a whole other thing to be completely left out of the process.

In a 2018 Maine U.S. House election, the Republican who won the most first-choice votes ended up losing to a Democrat after the second round of reallocating votes and eliminating 8,000 votes.

The Heritage Foundation noted a 2015 study revealing that out of 600,000 votes cast using RCV in four local elections in Washington state and California found the winner in all four elections did not win a majority of the total votes cast.

Rigging the System

RCV is also vulnerable to shenanigans, leaving room for manipulation of the system that leads to the top vote-getter being eliminated by lesser candidates.

And if you haven’t noticed yet, it is a very confusing process. This, too, provides opportunities to take advantage of the complicated process to manipulate voters.

The election process can be frustrating and is far from perfect, but Rank Choice Voting is not an answer, it’s a scheme devised by those who know how to work the system in their favor and undermine voters.

Arizona lawmakers this session passed HB 2552 prohibiting RCV in Arizona elections, but Governor Hobbs quickly vetoed it. Lawmakers also passed HCR 2033 on a party-line vote, sending the issue to voters to decide in the 2024 election. HCR 2033 ensures direct party elections, effectively prohibiting RCV.

However, an initiative to approve RCV may also be on the November 2024 ballot. Activists have been working on the measure to bring RCV to Arizona. In that case, voters would be facing two measures, one to prohibit and one to implement the scheme. We will keep you posted.

Good & Bad in the State Budget

The Arizona Legislature passed a new state budget that leadership hammered out with Governor Hobbs, who signed the budget last week. The takeaways:

  • Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) did not get capped as Democrats hoped. Click here for more information on ESAs.
  • There is no money for nonprofit organizations that help pregnant homeless women. For the past six years, Maggie’s Place has received at least $100,000 and up to $200,000 to help homeless pregnant women get off the streets, care for their unborn babies, and start fresh. In a nearly $18 billion dollar budget, Governor Hobbs would not approve a tiny fraction for expectant moms on the streets.
  • There is no money for abortion alternative programs either, but abortion clinics also didn’t receive money.

I’m grateful to Arizona House and Senate leadership and others working on this budget who stood their ground and negotiated an acceptable agreement with a very progressive Governor.

The Truth About the Cost of ESAs

Listen here to CAP’s latest Engage Arizona podcast to make sense of all the false claims about ESAs in the news media and from educational freedom opponents. I talk with Matt Beienburg from Goldwater Institute about the real cost of ESAs to the state and how each ESA saves the state money. Matt spells it all out clearly and briefly.


  • Read here how California’s failed attempt to force churches to pay for abortions in their insurance coverage is costing the state $1.4 million after a years-long legal battle.
  • Read here about how some U.S. Senators are fighting weaponization of child abuse bill against parents who oppose abortion and child “transitioning.”
  • Read here my op-ed in AZ Free News on how leftists hide sex changes in abortion bills.


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