Just two weeks ago, on March 20, 2024, the Fair Representation Act was introduced to the 118th Congress in D.C. and cosponsored by seven Democrat members of Congress. This piece of federal legislation would mandate ranked choice voting (RCV) for all U.S. House and Senate elections.

Despite proponents of RCV claiming that it would strengthen democracy, the data—released in our brand new research paper—suggests otherwise.

In the RCV system, instead of voting for one candidate, voters vote for multiple candidates, ranking them according to personal preferences. If a voter’s first choice candidate is eliminated in the first round, their “vote” goes towards their second choice. However, if a voter only selects one candidate, and if that candidate is eliminated, that ballot is thrown away.

Essentially, candidates are rewarded for being second-best, as the voting power for voters who have one strongly favored candidate is diluted while voters with multiple preferences have their voices heard in each round of RCV.

This occurred recently during Alaska’s 2022 at-largest congressional race, when Democrat Molly Peltola won despite the two Republican candidates, Sarah Palin and Nick Begich III, receiving 59.6% of first-choice votes.

After the first round, Begich was eliminated after receiving the fewest first-choice votes. But after his elimination, 11,290 of his voters who only ranked Begich had their ballots thrown away, disenfranchising them since these voters would not have known that the election would come down to Palin and Peltola.

The RCV system does not allow for these Begich-only voters to choose between these two final candidates, whereas the traditional runoff system would have allowed these voters to choose between the two candidates in runoff, likely resulting in a Republican victory.

Additionally, RCV would undermine election integrity, especially when the public trust of election integrity is at an all-time low.  Even if RCV was mathematically sound, it would still potentially cause voter suppression.

RCV further exacerbates the problem of inefficient and inaccurate vote counting. In the 2021 New York City Mayoral election, which utilized RCV, the Democrat primary election results took weeks to be released, in part due to an extraneous 135,000 votes which were accidentally added into the vote count.

In an even more egregious example, the actual winner of an Oakland, California school board race mistakenly finished third in his election due to a vote-counting mistake. It was only after a court decision that he was installed as a school board member.

Considering the hotly contested results of 2020, election integrity is of paramount importance to the security and faith in our electoral system. RCV turns the fundamental method of selecting a legitimate government into a complicated farce incompatible with state law. Thus, Texas should pass legislation resembling TPPF’s recently released model legislation which bans RCV and ensures that the federal government does not enact legislation that would undermine the “one person, one vote” doctrine.