| Alvin (Aj) Jones | Michigan Radio |

A handful of Michigan cities are considering ballot proposals that would change local elections to ranked-choice voting systems. The proposals, if passed, would need a change in state law to take effect. Michigan law currently bars municipalities using ranked-choice voting.

But if the ballot measures pass, the cities of East Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Royal Oak would potentially join others like Ann Arbor, which approved ranked-choice voting in 2021, and Ferndale, which approved it almost two decades ago in 2004. as having approved ranked-choice voting (in 2021 and 2004 respectively). Eastpointe implemented ranked-choice voting for two city council seats in 2019 as part of a settlement in with the U.S. Justice Department in a federal civil rights lawsuit. That settlement agreement is set to expire this year.

A better voter experience

Advocates say it’s a helpful voting system, and a necessary change for American democracy.

“Ranked-choice voting is a simple change to the ballot that enables a better voter experience,” said Katie Fahey, founder of Voters Not Politicians, the group behind Michigan’s 2018 redistricting ballot proposal. “Ranked-choice voting would allow you to say ‘here’s my favorite candidate’ and mark them as your first choice. Then, choose … your second choice, third choice and basically state your preference for which candidates you like.”

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