House Approves Ranked Choice Voting Framework

DENVER, CO– The House today passed Rep. Chris Kennedy’s bill to create a statewide framework for ranked choice voting in municipal elections. Specifically, the bill allows towns and cities to run ranked-choice elections through a county coordinated election, and would ask the Secretary of State’s office to promulgate statewide rules regarding voting systems and auditing practices for towns or cities that opt in. The bill passed by a vote of 40-23.

“Local governments across Colorado are looking to ranked choice voting as an innovative tool to ensure the candidate with the most support wins the election. Today we voted to provide a framework to ensure these elections are working as they should,” said Rep. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood. “Providing guidelines and safeguards for novel ideas meant to increase voter participation and improve our elections is how we ensure Colorado’s electoral system remains the gold standard. Safe and secure elections that expand voter access – that’s the Colorado way.”

HB21-1071 allows municipalities located in a single county to use ranked choice voting during coordinated elections starting in 2023, and municipalities located in multiple counties to implement it starting in 2025. The bill calls on the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office to promulgate statewide rules for the implementation and certification of this system, to establish an audit process for it, and to secure a software provider to be available for use by counties. If a municipality that has opted in to the ranked choice voting system is located in more than one county, counties are directed to work together to establish guidelines for the election, including the maximum number of candidates that voters will be allowed to rank on their ballots.