AuroraHot Sheet

Aurora activists look to put ranked-choice voting on the ballot

Author: Kara Mason - June 22, 2018 - Updated: June 21, 2018

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Aurora’s City Council in session. (aurora.gov)

Aurora may be the next Colorado municipality to dabble in an instant-runoff voting system. A group of community activists in Aurora is attempting to get the question on the November ballot.

The grassroots effort, led by local attorney Jason Legg, has until Sept. 4 to collect 6,763 signatures from Aurora voters, according to a report from the Sentinel.

In ranked voting, races with more than two candidates are ranked by the voter. If none of the candidates show a majority, then the candidate with the least number of votes is dropped. Voters who voted for that candidate have their second choices applied and counting continues.

Legg told the paper that the method is proven and, like others argue, a more democratic way to run elections. “When we look at reform, we don’t want to do things that won’t be successful,” he said.

Legg, as well as other proponents of the system, say it leads to more civil campaigning because candidates don’t want to risk not being less than a second-choice vote in many instances.

As for more civil campaigning, well, some have their doubts.

Instant-runoff, also called ranked choice voting, has already been implemented in some larger cities across the country, namely San Francisco and Minneapolis. This year, the entire state of Maine will vote via instant runoff. There, a congressional primary saw candidates exchange  “harsh words,” as a FiveThirtyEight report put it.

If Aurora took on the system it wouldn’t be a first in Colorado. Aspen tried the system, but ultimately went back to the more common “first past the post” system. An effort in 2011 failed to get the question on the ballot in Fort Collins.

The Sentinel points out that Colorado Democrats have put ranked choice voting on its 2018 platform, but so far this is the biggest push toward that party goal.

Kara Mason

Kara Mason

Kara Mason covers southern Colorado, Aurora and statewide issues for ColoradoPolitics.com. She also writes for the Aurora Sentinel.