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OP ED: Banning Ranked Choice Voting is the Next Step in Ensuring Alabama Elections Are the Most Secure in the Country

An Editorial by Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen

On the heels of Alabama’s ballot harvesting ban, I am turning my attention towards the next step in ensuring Alabama elections are the most secure elections in the country: the outlawing of ranked-choice voting.

SB 186 sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr and HB 423 sponsored by Representative Mark Shirey prohibit the use of ranked choice voting in Alabama’s elections, with an exception for electors who vote by absentee ballot pursuant to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. This bill would help preserve the integrity of our state’s elections process.

Ranked choice voting is a flawed system in which voters must assign a numerical “rank” to each candidate. If no candidate wins a majority outright, the candidate with the least amount of first preference votes is eliminated and the votes are automatically redistributed among the remaining candidates. This process may be repeated until one candidate is assigned a majority of votes. Ranked choice voting is banned in five states with several more taking up this issue in legislative sessions around the country.

Ranked choice voting is an excessively confusing and complicated system designed to make winners out of losers. News headlines across the country document the stories of ranked choice voting related problems.

There have been instances of thousands of ballots being thrown out in elections conducted using ranked choice voting due to errors caused by voter confusion. Alabama voters deserve to be confident that their ballots are completed correctly and will not be discarded.

In elections that utilize ranked choice voting, the tabulating of election results can take weeks. Alabama voters should receive timely election results as evidence of a fair, secure, and transparent election.

With ranked choice voting, every vote does not count. I commend Senator Orr and Representative Mark Shirey for protecting Alabama votes by bringing SB 186 and HB 423 before the Alabama Legislature, and look forward to the day it is signed into law.

Wes Allen is Alabama’s 54th Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is Alabama’s Chief Elections Official. Additionally, Alabama law gives the Secretary of State more than 1,000 different duties. To learn more about the Secretary of State and his responsibilities and duties visit


*Secretary of State Wes Allen’s official photograph: