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The history of ranked choice voting in Ohio and why one senator doesn't want it to come back

Ann Thompson

Ranked choice voting has a history in Ohio. In the 1900s, five Ohio cities used this method. Under the system, voters rank candidates in the order that they prefer. If no candidate wins a majority and your first choice is in last place, your vote automatically counts for your second choice. The process continues until a candidate wins a majority.

Cincinnati used a form of ranked choice voting for 30 years to elect city council until it was repealed in 1957.

Now an Ohio senator wants to ensure that ranked choice voting doesn't come back to the state. Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) has introduced Senate Bill 137 that seeks to stop communities from adopting this method of voting. Sen. Gavarone says ranked choice voting isn't what the founders of this country intended.

But Republican former state representative Gene Krebs says banning ranked choice voting will hurt Republican candidates in urban counties. His group Rank the Vote Ohio has been conducting surveys to determine if Ohioans want ranked choice voting.

On Cincinnati Edition, we discuss the history of ranked choice voting and legislation to ban it from Ohio.

We invited Sen. Theresa Gavarone to join us for this discussion. After agreeing to participate she twice canceled her interviews with us citing scheduling conflicts.


  • Gene Krebs, Republican former state representative
  • Howard Wilkinson, senior political analyst, WVXU

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