Missouri lawmakers vote to bar Ranked Choice Voting in most parts of state

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Jefferson City, Missouri – The Missouri legislature has successfully passed a proposed constitutional amendment that aims to ban ranked choice voting across most parts of the state. The House of Representatives approved the measure with a vote of 97-43 on Friday, following its passage in the Senate. This resolution does not require Governor Mike Parson’s signature to move forward. According to the resolution, voters would not be allowed to rank candidates in order when casting their ballots for any office.

There is an exception in the resolution for St. Louis, where an approval voting system was adopted for city elections in 2020. In this system, voters can support any number of candidates during the primary elections, and the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff. The new amendment will not change this system in St. Louis. The resolution was championed in the House by Representative Ben Baker from Neosho, who expressed his opposition to St. Louis’s exemption from the proposed ban.

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“I’m not OK with it, but this is where we’re at with this language of what we can get done in the body. I think it’s still a big step in the right direction,” Baker said.

Rep. Eric Woods of Kansas City, a Democrat, argued against the resolution, calling it unnecessary and ineffective for restoring public confidence in election results. He suggested that there are alternative methods and ideas that could be used to enhance the strength of our democracy or republic.

The resolution also specifies that in a political party primary, the candidate with the most votes will be the sole candidate for that party in the November election. It mandates that all elections be conducted with paper ballots or another method legally approved.

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The resolution includes a clause stating that only U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older and residents of Missouri and the voting district are eligible to vote. This clause, however, introduces no new changes to the current law.

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This particular wording has been a major issue throughout the legislative session. It has been linked to a proposed amendment aimed at making it more difficult to modify the constitution. Democrats have accused Republicans of using this language to mislead voters into supporting it. A lengthy filibuster by Senate Democrats, lasting about 50 hours, eventually thwarted these constitutional amendments.

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