Senator   ANDREW ZWICKER
District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)
Senator   LINDA R. GREENSTEIN
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Establishes ranked-choice voting procedure for presidential primaries and general elections for electors for United States President and Vice-President.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning ranked-choice voting for presidential primaries and general elections for electors for United States President and Vice-President and supplementing Title 19 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Notwithstanding any provision of Title 19 of the Revised Statutes, or any other law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, presidential primaries and general elections for electors for President and Vice-President of the United States shall be conducted using ranked-choice voting, an election method in which voters rank candidates in order of their preference, the ballots are counted in rounds, and the votes are distributed to candidates according to the preferences marked on each ballot, in accordance with the process established under this act, P.L.     , c.     (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).
2. As used in this act, P.L.     , c.     (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):
Continuing candidate    means any candidate that has not been defeated or elected.
Election threshold    means the number of votes sufficient for a candidate to be elected, which shall be 50 percent of the votes counting for candidates in an election, plus one.
Exhausted ballot    means a ballot that is not counted for any continuing candidate because the ballot (1) does not rank any continuing candidates, (2) contains an overvote by ranking more than one candidate as the highest-ranked continuing candidate, or (3) contains two or more consecutive skipped rankings prior to its highest-ranked continuing candidate.
Highest-ranked continuing candidate    means the candidate assigned to the highest ranking order on a ballot that is not an exhausted ballot.
Ranking order    means the number available to be assigned by a voter to a candidate to express the voter   s choice for that candidate, with the number    1    being the highest ranking order, followed by the number    2,    and then the number    3,    and so on.
Round    means an instance of the sequence of voting tabulation beginning with paragraph (1) of subsection a. of section 4 of this act (C.       ).
3.       In any election conducted by ranked-choice voting pursuant to this act, P.L.     , c.     (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the ballot shall be designed to allow voters to rank candidates in ranking order, including write-in candidates. The ballot shall allow voters to assign a ranking order to each qualified candidate on the ballot. In the event that the voting equipment cannot feasibly accommodate a ballot containing a number of rankings equal to the number of qualified candidates, the ballot may be designed to allow a voter to rank the maximum number allowed by the voting equipment, provided the ballot shall allow the voter to rank at least six candidates. The ballot shall not interfere with a voter   s ability to rank write-in candidates.
4.       a.   In a presidential primary or a general election for electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, the ranked-choice voting tabulation shall be conducted pursuant to this subsection, and shall proceed in rounds, sequentially, as follows:
(1)     each ballot shall count as one vote for the highest-ranked continuing candidate on that ballot. If a candidate has more than 50 percent of the votes, that candidate is elected and the tabulation is complete;
(2)     if two or fewer continuing candidates remain, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is defeated, the candidate with the greatest number of votes is elected, and the tabulation is complete;
(3)     if more than two continuing candidates remain, the continuing candidate with the fewest number of votes is defeated, and a new round begins with paragraph (1) of this subsection.
b.       In any round of tabulation pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a ballot that does not contain a highest-ranked continuing candidate shall not count for any candidate. Instead, the ballot shall be declared inactive and shall be counted as an exhausted ballot.
c.         In any round of tabulation pursuant to subsections a. of this section, if two or more candidates are tied with the fewest votes, and a tabulation cannot continue until the candidate with the fewest votes is defeated, then the candidate to be defeated shall be determined by lot. Election officials may resolve prospective ties between candidates prior to the tabulation after all votes are cast.
5.       The Secretary of State shall issue guidelines and promulgate, pursuant to the    Administrative Procedure Act,    P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), any rules and regulations necessary to effectuate the ranked-choice voting procedures established by the provisions of this act, P.L.     , c.     (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).
6.       This act shall take
effect immediately, but shall remain inoperative until the January 1st
following the 12th  month from the date the Secretary of State
officially certifies that all voting machines used in this State have the
capability to support the ranked-choice voting procedures established by this
This bill establishes a ranked-choice voting procedure for presidential primary elections and general elections for electors of candidates for President an