January 2021: Three RCV bills considered in 2021 Legislative Session

January 22, 2021
This quarter’s update has a lot of ground to cover. The events in the Capitol on January 6 make us determined to work on ways to prevent anything like this from happening again. As FairVote CEO Rob Ritchie said, "Our problems have deep and complex roots that go far beyond electoral rules. But making our representative democracy work demands changing the incentives of how to get elected and stay in office. Until we reform our elections, too many of our political leaders will be  incentivized to reinforce these divides and deepen polarization."

Changing the logistics of how we vote can make a difference. Ranked choice voting (RCV) is a nonpartisan electoral reform that helps elect candidates with broader voter support, reduces cost by eliminating runoff elections, has been shown to decrease negative campaigning as candidates seek second and third choice votes, and can help voters sort through candidates without fear of splitting the vote among similar candidates resulting in a win by someone who the majority does not support.
Research shows that not only do voters quickly pick-up on how to vote with RCV, but also that they like it. In Texas, to adopt RCV a legislative change is required.

RCV for Texas Campaign Update:

There will be three bills considered in the current legislative session:
1. HB 117: Adopt RCV in political primaries (as was successfully used in the Democratic presidential primary in five states in 2020);

2. # TBA: Allow local jurisdictions to use RCV for nonpartisan municipal and school district elections

3. HB 740: Enable military and overseas voters to use RCV to make sure their votes count in runoff elections.

Tell your legislators that you support RCV:

In the next few weeks, you will receive a link to a brief survey, the answers to which will generate letters to your Texas State Senators and Representatives. The letters will be personalized based on your description of your personal voting story and which benefits of RCV you think are most important. Take the survey, send it to your friends, and post it on social media. Help us increase participation in this grassroots letter-writing campaign.

How can you help? Here are a variety of ways:

  1. Spread the word:
    • Reach out to 10 people you know. Send them our 1-page summary of the benefits of RCV, how it works, and how they can help get legislation passed by signing up on our website.
    • Reach out to your social media network and post support for RCV with a link to our website, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn pages
  2. Community Outreach:
    • Ask the head of any organization you belong to to pass along information about RCV to their members.
    • Host an online event where you or another volunteer presents about RCV.
    • Make calls or send emails to people in our supporter database to encourage them to volunteer.
    • Submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about the benefits of RCV.
  3. Behind the scenes:
    • Share your communication, fundraising, graphics, or technology skills with us on a specific project.
    • Financial Support:
    • Make a one-time or recurring donation.
    • Help raise money to support our public outreach efforts.

RCV in the News:

  • An op-ed in the Houston Chronicle discusses how small groups of extremist voices exercise asymmetric political power. By requiring majority support to win, RCV “changes how candidates campaign, how they view the opposition, and how they govern once elected.”
  • An article in The Hill argues that if Georgia had used RCV, the country could have avoided the angst of waiting for what turned out to be a very expensive, rancorous runoff election. “Not only can ranked choice voting benefit both parties, but it will also make our democracy fairer and freer, and one that is actually by the people and for the people.”
  • Take 4 minutes to learn about RCV successes in 2020.
  • Follow us on social media for key updates as they happen.

We appreciate the efforts of our current volunteers. Please let us know how you would like
to help. Email us at
[email protected]

Best regards,

Harriet, Joanne, and Kathryn