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How 2023 Legislation Will Shape Future Elections And The Growing Opposition To Ranked-choice Voting

Examining the impact of current legislation on upcoming elections and the rise of ranked-choice voting bans in several states.
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Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota approved new ranked-choice voting bans, joining Florida and Tennessee, which were the first to do so in 2022. All five states have Republican trifectas.

In Arizona and North Dakota, Republican-controlled legislatures passed bills prohibiting the system, but Govs. Katie Hobbs (D) and Doug Burgum (R) vetoed them, respectively. 

Neither state has any localities that currently use ranked-choice voting. But North Dakota’s measure would have also prohibited approval voting, currently used in Fargo, its largest city.

Alaska, Maine, and, in certain situations, Hawaii are the only three states that use ranked-choice voting in congressional elections. Seventeen other states have local jurisdictions that use the system.


A total of 6,087 candidates responded to our survey in 2022, representing 19% of the candidates we covered throughout the year. That includes 5,995 candidates within our regular coverage scope and 92 candidates as part of our efforts to expand into more local elections.

It also represented a 26% increase from the number of completed surveys in 2020, and a 206% increase from the 2018 midterms, when we first introduced the survey.

For the first time in an even-year election cycle, state legislative candidates did not make up a majority of all responses, though they still represented the largest chunk, accounting for 49%. Congressional candidates made up the second-largest group at 24%.


We released our 10th annual mid-year report looking at recall efforts through the first half of the year.

From Jan. 1 to June 21, we covered 149 recall efforts against 227 officials. This represents a slight decline from last year when we tallied 152 recall efforts against 240 officials by June.

The highest number of recall efforts we have tracked by mid-year was 189 in 2016, and the lowest was 72 in 2019.

Here are a few key takeaways:

School board recalls remain elevated compared to pre-pandemic years. We identified 30 school board recall efforts by mid-year involving 51 officials, which is already higher than the average of 27 such efforts we found per year between 2009 and 2020.

But, in a return to the historical norm, city council officials face the most recall attempts. A total of 105 such officials have faced recall campaigns in 2023, more than any other group and re-establishing a pattern seen between 2016 and 2020 and again in 2022.

In 2021, breaking from that norm, school board officials faced the most recall efforts by mid-year.


As of July 23, 34 ballot measures have been certified for the ballot in eight states for elections in 2023.

That’s more at this point than in any other odd-numbered year since 2013.


This year, Zenger News is covering every school board election in 10 states: Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The aim of this unique, comprehensive coverage is simple: to help close the knowledge gap about local races and candidates and to encourage voter participation.

After each state’s election, we put out a comprehensive report detailing items like open seats, incumbents defeated, and endorsement information.

Earlier this year, we published our first two reports in Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

Here’s a look at some of the things that jumped out at us in both states:

In Oklahoma, registered Republicans won 72% of seats overall, but registered Democrats won a majority of the handful of contested elections.

While Oklahoma’s school board elections are officially nonpartisan, Zenger News researched publicly-available voter files and candidate filing information to identify the partisan affiliation of the candidates running in this year’s elections.

Of the 556 seats up for election:

  • Registered Democrats won 24%;
  • Registered Republicans won 72%; and,
  • Registered independents or minor party candidates won 4%.

These totals include uncontested elections, which accounted for 79% of seats up for election. In these races, the April election was canceled because only one candidate was on the ballot. Registered Republicans again accounted for 72% of these winners.

This also includes intra-party elections, in which all the candidates on the ballot were from the same party. Intra-party elections made up 14% of the total number of elections. Registered Republicans won 93% of those races.

Finally, there were 41 inter-party elections, which had candidates from different political parties on the ballot, accounting for 7% of elections. Registered Democrats won 54% of those races.

The map below shows each district based on the party affiliation of the candidate or candidates who won.

In Wisconsin, top liberal endorsers had a 73% win rate compared to 48% for top conservative groups.

As part of this project, we are gathering descriptive endorsements, those that help describe the stances or policy positions of a candidate. Once we find an endorsement, we tag them as either liberal or conservative based on whether they are affiliated with a major party or support policies associated with a major party.

We tallied results to find the top five liberal and conservative endorsers in terms of total endorsements made.

All 10 endorsers made endorsements in uncontested races, where the endorsed candidate was guaranteed to win. For this analysis, only endorsements made in contested elections are included:

Our South Dakota report is coming next, and the remaining seven reports will be out after the elections in November.


Produced in association with Ballotpedia

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