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Voters in Burlington will give RCV a second shot.

Ranked-choice voting poised to return to Vermont's largest city

Tuesday was a big day for fans of alternative voting systems.

Two-thirds of voters in Burlington cast ballots in favor of restoring ranked-choice voting in Vermont's largest city. If Vermont's Democratic-majority General Assembly and GOP Gov. Phil Scott also sign off on the ballot initiative, ranked-choice voting will be used for city council elections starting next March.

And a rival method, approval voting, made its debut in St. Louis after winning its own approval last year.

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Voters in Massachusetts, including those who cast early ballots at Fenway Park, came out against ranked-choice voting in the Bay State.

Ranked elections rejected by Massachusetts, in doubt in Alaska

Proponents of ranked-choice voting have failed in their attempts to bring the alternative election system to Massachusetts and are confronting a potential defeat in Alaska as well.

The twin setbacks would amount to a big reversal of fortune for one of the darling ideas of democracy reform: Allowing voters to list candidates in order of preference, then reallocating the secondary choices of the poorer performers until one person emerges with majority support. Maine is now the only state using ranked elections almost exclusively

But a switch to so-called RCV for municipal elections was approved in two cities in California, two in Minnesota and one in Colorado. And voters in St. Louis voted to embrace another alternative election format for local primaries called approval voting.

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There is a conversation emerging about race and party identity fueled by the ascendant Black Lives Matter movement, write the authors.

The democracy reform and Black political agendas must become aligned

Gray is a Baptist minister, secretary of the Missouri Democratic Party and a former state senator in Kansas. Fields is a New York physician and a board member of Open Primaries, which advocates for nonpartisan nominating elections.

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Supports of ranked-choice voting in Massachusetts rallied to support the alternative voting method in July.

As ranked-choice voting gains acceptance, critics push back

Most Americans are accustomed to a winner-take-all voting process, making one, decisive choice between a multitude of candidates.

Ranked-choice voting changes the standard methodology. RCV allows voters to rank multiple candidates in order of personal preference, replacing a "plurality winner" system with a vastly different election process that hasn't been widely seen in the United States for some time.

This past year, ranked-choice voting has been having a sort of coming-out party. It was used in Democratic presidential primaries in four states as well as the Nevada caucuses. And referendums instituting ranked-choice voting are on the ballot this fall in five cities and three states — Alaska, Massachusetts and North Dakota.

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