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Lawmakers consider changes to Maine's Clean Election law, Florida offers a big no comment over "arranged" migrant flights to California, and the Global Fragility Act turns U.S. peacekeeping on its head.

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A bipartisan effort aims to preserve AM radio, the Human Rights Campaign declares a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people, and the Atlanta City Council approves funding for a controversial police training center.

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Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

WA Bill Would Let Voters Rank Preferred Presidential Primary Candidates

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Tuesday, February 14, 2023   

Supporters of ranked choice voting say the system could improve Washington state's presidential primary elections. A bill in Olympia would create a ranked system in which candidates are ranked by a voter's preference.

Stephanie Houghton, managing director of FairVote Washington, said the measure, which her group supports, would alleviate a problem caused when voters are asked to vote early, including in primaries.

"Unfortunately, if you did that in the 2020 primary, you were punished, possibly, because your vote was cast for someone who then dropped out," Houghton said. "There are no re-dos."

Houghton said voters in the 2020 Democratic primary later expressed regret that their vote did not matter. Washington state's Democratic and Republican primaries were in March in 2020, more than a month after the Iowa caucuses, the first contest in the country. In 2022, Seattle voters approved a measure to bring ranked choice voting to city primary elections.

Houghton said after the primaries, the ranked choice ballots would be in the hands of the parties to decide what to do with them, and added as it stands now, people have to strategize about which candidate is going to be viable by the time the primary gets to their state.

"Instead of just saying, 'My favorite candidate is blank. I'm going to vote for that person. If they don't make the threshold set by the party, I would like my vote to go toward this second person.' Same for the third," she said.

She added the state would join a host of other states that used ranked choice voting in primaries and caucuses in 2020, including Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas and Wyoming. Maine is joining those states in 2024. The bill would have to be passed by the House State Government and Tribal Relations committee by Friday to stay in play this legislative session.


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