Does Ranked Choice Voting Promote Legislative Bipartisanship? Using Maine as a Policy Laboratory

24 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2023 Last revised: 16 Aug 2023

Date Written: August 11, 2023

Abstract

Political polarization in the United States has increased dramatically, hampering the functioning of American government. Some scholars attribute this dynamic to the use of plurality elections and posit that a ranked choice voting (RCV) system may promote greater bipartisanship. Maine’s 2016 adoption of RCV presents an early opportunity to test this theory on congressional races. Using comparative analysis, we show that bipartisan cosponsorship increased after the adoption of RCV in Maine’s swing House district but not in its safe district. These results, along with some anecdotal evidence from Alaska, which introduced RCV in 2021, provide an early suggestion that RCV may be more likely to prompt bipartisanship in competitive races than in safe seats. RCV would need to be implemented in more U.S. states and for a longer time to confirm its effectiveness in cultivating bipartisanship, and may work best in combination with other electoral and procedural reforms.

Keywords: ranked choice voting, bipartisanship, bipartisan, Alaska, Maine, elections

Suggested Citation

Hutchinson, Rachel and Reilly, Benjamin, Does Ranked Choice Voting Promote Legislative Bipartisanship? Using Maine as a Policy Laboratory (August 11, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4538418 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4538418

Rachel Hutchinson (Contact Author)

FairVote ( email )

8484 Georgia Ave
Suite 240
Silver Spring, MD 20910
United States

Benjamin Reilly

East-West Center ( email )

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
112
Abstract Views
482
Rank
433,577
PlumX Metrics