Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) isn't new to Ohio. RCV was used in five Ohio cities (Cleveland, Ashtabula, Toledo, Hamilton, and Cincinnati) between 1913 and 1961 until it became a victim of its own success – RCV led to more accurate representation for women and people of color, as well as a greater diversity of ideologies, before corrupt party bosses aligned with racist groups to repeal it.

Cleveland started using RCV for single-member ward seats in 1913 – then called the "preferential vote" like in Australia, where RCV has been used since 1918. In 1915, Ashtabula became the first city in America to use RCV with multi-member districts to achieve proportional representation. Cleveland's first women councilmembers were elected with RCV, as were the first Black councilmembers in Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Toledo. In Cincinnati, after Ted Berry rose to prominence as a councilman with high voter support under RCV, party bosses and the KKK conspired to repeal RCV in attempt to stop Berry from being elected mayor because he was Black. RCV was ahead of its time then, but Ohio can bring back RCV to achieve fair and responsive representation.

You can learn more about the history of RCV in Ohio from:

FairVote: The Forgotten Results and Future Promise of Ranked Choice Voting in Ohio

Sightline: How Proportional Representation Gave American Voters Meaningful Representation in the 1900s

Ohio Libraries: Proportional Representation and Election Reform in Ohio by Kathleen L. Barber

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