A bill being proposed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Wyoming Legislature would implement a ranked-choice voting system for Wyoming primary and general elections.

That would essentially allow voters to vote for multiple candidates, regardless of party, in order of preference.

Senate File 65 is being sponsored by Sen. Chris Rothfuss (D-Albany County. Senate co-sponsors include Sen. Cale Case (R-Fremont County) and Wendy Schuler (R-Uinta County. House sponsors of the measure include Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-Laramie County) and Rep. Mike Yin (D-Teton County).

The bill would allow voters to cast ballots for candidates from either or both parties in order of preference, assuming there are more than two candidates running. If any candidate won an outright majority of first-preference votes in an election, that candidate would be declared the winner.

But if no candidate wins a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated, and the voters who voted for that candidate as their first choice would then have their second-choice votes added to the vote totals of the remaining candidates.

That process would continue with additional rounds of vote counting until one candidate wins an outright majority if it is a general election. If it is a primary election, twice the number of candidates as the number of open seats would advance. The state of Maine currently uses ranked-choice voting on a statewide basis and the system is used for local elections in other areas of the country.

Ballotpedia explains the general concept of ranked-choice voting this way:

"A ranked-choice voting system (RCV) is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority. This system is sometimes referred to as an instant runoff voting system."

Opponents argue it sometimes allows candidates who are not voters first choice to win elections.

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