Campaigns supporting Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) initiatives in Missouri and Nevada received millions of contributions in the weeks leading up to their signature deadlines. Both ballot initiatives would use open primaries in which the top candidates, regardless of their party affiliations, would qualify for the general election. In Missouri, the top four vote recipients would qualify for the general election. In Nevada, the top five vote recipients would advance. In Missouri and Nevada, voters would use ranking voting to determine which of the four or five candidates would win the election. Despite the similarities between the two proposals, each has different major donors.
In Nevada, the Nevada Voters First PAC leads the campaign and signature drive. PAC has received $2.26 million through March 31. Katherine Gehl, founder of the Institute for Political Innovation and former CEO of Gehl Foods, Inc., donated $1 million. The Final Five Fund, Inc., which the Institute for Policy Innovation lists as a 501(c)(4) counterpart, provided $488,000. The Nevada Association of Realtors and Strategic Horizons, a committee associated with the Clark County Education Association, each donated $250,000. Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, contributed $100,000, as did the organization Unite America.
In Missouri, the Better Elections PAC is leading the campaign behind the RCV’s top-four ballot initiative. Better Elections has received $4.30 million through March 31. More than 98% of PAC’s funding came from the Article IV Organization, a Virginia-based nonprofit. According to St. Louis Post-DispatchArticle IV is associated with John and Laura Arnold, whose organization Action Now Initiative has contributed to RCV-related ballot initiatives in previous years.
The signing deadline is May 8, 2022, in Missouri. The number of signatures required is equal to 8% of the votes cast for governor in the previous gubernatorial election in six of the state’s eight congressional districts. The lowest number of valid signatures required is 160,199; however, the actual requirement depends on the districts from which enough signatures have been collected.
The deadline to file signatures for the Nevada Top Five RCV Ballot Initiative is June 21, 2022. At least 135,561 valid signatures are required for the initiative to make the vote. In Nevada, initiated constitutional amendments, such as the initiative, must be approved in two successive general elections. Voters are therefore expected to approve the ballot initiative in 2022 and 2024.
Statewide RCV ballot measures preceded voters in three states. If the ballot initiatives in Missouri and Nevada were to pass, the two would be the fourth and fifth states to vote on the RCV measures.
Maine became the first state to adopt RCV for select statewide elections when voters approved Question 5 in 2016. PACs raised $2.94 million to support Question 5. Action Now Initiative was the largest donor, providing $470,000.
Two states – Alaska and Massachusetts – voted on RCV ballot initiatives in November 2020. Massachusetts Question 2 was defeated, with 54.78% of voters rejecting the proposal. The campaign behind Question 2 raised $10.18 million, including contributions from Action Now Initiative, Unite America and Katherine Gehl. Voters in Alaska approved Ballot Measure 2, which received 50.55 percent of the vote. Ballot Measure 2 replaced partisan primaries with open top-four primaries and established preferential voting for general elections. The campaign received $6.84 million, with Unite America and Action Now Initiative as top donors.