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Making Democracy Work 

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Making Democracy Work is a program that engages Leagues nationwide in advancing the core democracy issues of: Election Reform, Campaign Finance Reform and Stronger Ethics in Government. 

The Election Reform team uses League positions to advocate and take action, working together in a comprehensive approach toward the one common goal of making democracy work for all!

The Team meets every fourth Tuesday of the month. If you are interested in attending a meeting, please contact us.

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How do we vote now?

Plurality voting is the way we currently vote.  It is when a voter can vote for only one candidate in a race. Plurality voting is also known as ‘first past the post’ or ‘winner-take-all’ voting.

In single-winner elections with 3 or more candidates, problems can arise.  Because voters can show their support for one candidate only, we cannot clearly express our preferences; we might have to vote for a candidate that is not our favorite and two similar candidates may split the vote, resulting in the election of a third, less desirable candidate.

What is RCV?

Ranked Choice Voting is a simple upgrade to the way we currently vote. Right now, no matter how many candidates are on the ballot, we can choose only one candidate. With Ranked Choice Voting, we will rank the candidates – first choice, second choice, third choice – in the order of your preference.

RCV solves a real problem.

Have you ever wanted to vote for a third party candidate but you were worried you’d be wasting your vote? With Ranked Choice Voting, we are empowered to vote for exactly who we want, and then rank back-up options in the case your first choice candidate doesn’t have enough support to win.

RCV incentivizes more candidates to run.

Third party candidates are often told “Don’t run, don’t participate, wait your turn” because there is a fear of them splitting the vote with a leading candidate on a similar platform. With Ranked Choice Voting we can incentivize more candidates to get involved, elevating civil discourse in politics and give voters more choice on the ballot.
RCV is a powerful election reform that will defend democracy by requiring a majority to win the race.
The League of Women Voters of Larimer County (LWVLC) supports an alternative to plurality voting that would accomplish the following objectives:

     - Every person’s vote should count.
     - A winner should have majority support.
     - Maximize voter participation.
     - Is open to a variety of candidates and ideas.
     - Encourages positive, issue-based campaigning.

RCV -- league BOD endorsement

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is a simple rule change that requires candidates to be elected with the support of the majority of voters.

•            Due to the power of the backup choice, candidates are incentivized to run civil issues-based campaigning and to reach out to a broader base of voters, because not only does a candidate want to be a voter’s first ranked choice, but also to be a voter’s second ranked choice.

•            Voters are free to vote their values without "wasting their vote," and more candidates are free to run without fear of "splitting the vote."

•            If you are displeased with the lack of a political center, RCV allows independent voters more options to communicate their preferences.

•            RCV by itself is not a threat to our political duopoly system, but it does open the political process to women, minorities, and third-party candidates.

•            RCV protects and defends democracy by requiring candidates to be elected with the support of the majority of voters.

•            Ranked choice voting is a better way to vote. RCV is endorsed by the League of Women Voters of the US, and the League of Women Voters of Larimer County supports a yes vote on 2C.

Jane Hamburger, spokesperson, League of Women Voters of Larimer County. Here is the link to Jane Hamburger’s LTE that was published in the Coloradoan 9/30/2022.

Learn More About Ranked Choice Voting


Frequently Asked Questions

Watch an interview Community leaders discuss a better way to vote for our Mayor and City Council.


LWV of Boulder County - Voting Methods Team The Voting Methods Team advocates for alternatives to plurality voting.

LWV of Colorado position statement

RCV in Fort Collins News

Coloradoan, November 9, 2022

Fort Collins voters approve using RCV in City elections with 58% of the vote

The passage of the new voting procedure makes Fort Collins the largest city in in Colorado to adopt ranked-choice voting.

Read the article:  Fort Collins 2022 election ballot issues results ranked choice voting
ER-Ranked Choice Voting Photos
November 25, 2022
Fair Vote Action

Fort Collins, Colorado, said YES to ranked choice voting.  Fort Collins has one of the most active local RCV movements in the country, and Ranked Choice Voting for Fort Collins worked with over 100 volunteers on phone banking, texting, door-to-door canvassing, placing lawn signs around town, and holding public educational events.

Read the article:  Ranked choice voting just had its biggest election day ever

RCV in State News

Boulder is the latest Colorado city to adopt and use Ranked Choice Voting.


Voters in Boulder, CO used Ranked Choice Voting for the first time in their November 2023 election, after a 2020 ballot measure passed with 78% support. A new exit poll by Citizen Data, conducted on behalf of the RCV for Colorado Education Fund, shows that the Boulder voters liked RCV, found it simple to use and want to expand its use in Colorado. 

Poll: Boulder voters love RCV

What is Ranked Choice Voting? 

In 2020, a citizen committee “Our Mayor, Our Choice” successfully put forth a City of Boulder Charter Amendment Petition to change the way the City of Boulder elects its mayor through ranked choice voting.

Visit Boulder

RCV in National News

Press release October 6, 2021

Bennet, King, Phillips Introduce Bill to Promote Ranked Choice Voting


The Voter Choice Act supports local and state governments that choose to transition to a ranked choice voting (RCV) model for elections. Colorado Senator Michael Bennet believes this can discourage extreme partisanship, incentivize a greater focus on substantive issues, and ensure that election winners better reflect the views of most.

The Voter Choice Act provides $40 million in federal grants to cover up to 50 percent of the cost for local and state governments that voluntarily choose to transition to RCV.

Read the press release:  Bennet, King, Phillips Introduce Bill to Promote Ranked Choice Voting

Read the bill text:  Voter Choice Act

“Senator Bennet is standing up for all voters by introducing the Voter Choice Act. Our current system limits competition and choice. In towns that use Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), voters are free to cast their ballots for candidates they love the most, without fear of helping to elect candidates they like the least. The results are crystal clear: voters are heard, and they know it. Democrats, Republicans, minor party, and unaffiliated voters agree that RCV is a common-sense way to strengthen democracy and put more power in the hands of the voters. The Voter Choice Act will help more places opt to use RCV. RCV for Colorado is grateful to Senator Bennet for supporting the political freedom that every American deserves,” said Linda Templin, Executive Director for RCV for Colorado.

November 15, 2023

The Voter Choice Act has been reintroduced


RCV is easy to implement, and the Voter Choice Act would make it even easier.  Voter Choice Act funds can go toward upgrading voting equipment and tabulation software (all modern voting machines are RCV-compatible), appropriate ballot design, development and publication of educational materials, and voter outreach. That's in addition to the cost savings that many cities and counties see when they use RCV to replace runoff elections!  


Voter Choice Act

Senator Michael Bennet has reintroduced the Voter Choice Act

Bennet, King reintroduce bill to promote Ranked Choice Voting

Colorado's innovative and stellar election system


The United States is a representative democracy with

our government elected by citizens.

Citizen participation is key, and voting is a cherished political right.

Colorado’s voting system is considered an election gold standard and exemplifies the League mission: Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy. It is a product of evolving improvements, as elected county clerks, the elected Secretary of State, and other stakeholders seek additional means to provide accessibility, security, accuracy and transparency. 

This document provides a general overview of Colorado’s election system with the purpose of supporting League members nationwide in advocating for election reforms and legislation enabling the mail delivery of ballots to all registered voters.

Click here for the full report: Colorado's Innovative and Stellar Election System

One-Page Info Sheet: Colorado's Innovative & Stellar Election System






Advocated successfully during the Colorado Legislature in 2019 to pass legislation joining the National Popular VoteNational Popular Vote is an agreement among US states and the District of Columbia to award all their respective 270 electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in all 50 states plus DC. 



Advocate for Alternative Voting Methods (AVM) to our current system of plurality voting and to require ranked voting that ensures the winner has majority support. Adopting Ranked Choice Voting will invigorate civic participation, improve fairness of representation, and lead to more civil campaigns.  The League of Women Voters of Larimer County supports Ranked Choice Voting, sometimes referred to as Instant Runoff Voting.  LWVLC Program Priorities




Advocate for Proportional Representation that ensures parties gain seats in proportion to the number of votes cast for them. Ask your US Representative about HR4000. It is similar to the 2018 Fair Representation Act and will establish ranked choice voting in elections for Representatives in Congress; require each state with more than one representative to establish multi-member congressional districts; and require states to conduct congressional redistricting through independent commissions.   Read HR-4000

Video on Proportional Representation by LWV-Larimer County Election Reform Member, Brian Woodruff

How Proportional Ranked Choice Voting Works

Fair Representation Act

Pictured from left to right: 

Election Reform Team Leader Kathleen Schmidt, Colorado House Representatives Jeni Arndt, Cathy Kipp and National Popular Vote Colorado Co-Chair Sylvia Bernstein at a LWVLC Community Education Forum.

March 2019


Tell Congress to Stand Against Dark Money Now!

Congress reintroduced the DISCLOSE ACT, which would increase financial transparency and combat the power of dark money in politics. The League supports this legislation. As CEO Virginia Kase Solomon stated, "Voters have the right to know who is trying to influence their votes. The wealthiest political donors should not be able to influence our politics in secret." 

TO TAKE ACTION, click the link below:

2020 Successful Election Code Changes

Striving to remove the implied indebtedness of elected officials to large campaign contributors is very important in local governments as well as state and federal levels. Furthermore, limiting campaign contributions encourages diversity of candidates. 

Advocating with Represent Fort Collins, the League of Women Voters of Larimer County achieved the following rule changes at the City level:

              • contributions from an LLC are now capped within the LLC owner's individual contribution limits

              • limits on contributions to political committees

              • elimination of non-itemized contributions, or "fish-bowl parties”

The new rules mirror state law. They also more accurately reflect the City’s own legislative declaration that large campaign contributions create at least an appearance of corruption. Prior to this, campaign finance reports show at least one individual had bypassed individual limits by donating through many LLCs they lead. One individual donating from multiple LLCs unfairly amplifies one person’s voice many times over one individual who does not own LLCs and this will no longer be a potential strategy for campaign funding of elections. 

The combined total contribution limits are now $100 for mayoral campaigns and $75 for those campaigning to be city council members. 

Our League has much appreciation for our local ally Represent Fort Collins, a grassroots group that has persistently pursued limiting the influence of money in politics. 


City Council to consider election finance changes   City Council: 'LLC's are not constituents'


2018 Success Story:  City Council Elections


The Election Reform team with Represent Fort Collins and the community successfully advocated City Council for an increase of the Independent Expenditures limit from $100 to $250 (down from the proposed $1,000 threshold) and a "paid for by" requirement on all campaign communications from both registered committees and individuals.


After City Council voted unanimously to adopt the recommendations, City Council member Kristin Stephens said, “The community has clearly spoken to say they want more transparency”. Coloradoan article on open transparency


Special thanks to League members Marge Norskog, Jody DesChenes & Robbie Moreland from Represent Fort Collins, for being outstanding citizens who affected City policy for full and timely disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures. The City’s Elections Code Committee decided to change procedure and make their meetings open to the public with citizen input at the beginning of meetings. You no longer need an invite to attend ECC meetings. Represent FC has determined that the integrity of our City elections is dependent upon citizen review and will continue to do so.


Listen to our KRFC interview on campaign finance reform at the local level with Robbie Moreland and Jody DesChenes from Represent Fort Collins: KRFC Represent Fort Collins 2020 Interview




LWVUS supports The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

It is time to pass HR14, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to ensure the freedom to vote for all Americans, no matter the color of their skin, political party affiliation, or zip code. The JRLVRAA can help renew its protections, advance a multiracial, inclusive democracy, and give us back the power to determine the future of our communities and families. We need a fully restored Voting Rights Act to defend our democracy and protect the freedom to vote.

LWVUS Statement on the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act

Urge Your Congressmember to Support this Act

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act in State News


The Connecticut General Assembly passed this year’s most pro-voter legislation with the adoption of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of Connecticut. The bill includes provisions that:

  • Require local governments with a history of discriminatory voting practices to obtain preclearance before making certain voting changes.
  • Provide individual voters with the ability to go directly to state court to challenge discriminatory voting laws.
  • Improve multilingual language assistance for voters not fluent in English.
Connecticut Blazes a Path for Democracy