| Saul Pink and Jacob Wendler | The Daily Northwestern |
Evanston voters approved a referendum that will bring ranked-choice voting to the city’s municipal elections, starting in April 2025.
Evanston voters decided overwhelmingly to replace the city’s “winner-take-all” voting system with ranked-choice voting Tuesday night. Proponents of the referendum say the change will lead to fairer elections and less acrimonious campaigns.
82% of voters approved the measure…
The vote made Evanston the first municipality in Illinois to adopt the system. 82% of voters approved the measure with 98% of precincts reporting.
“We’re just so happy to see an overwhelmingly positive mandate from Evanston,” said Rebecca Ratliff, campaign manager for RCV for Evanston.
Ahead of the election, RCV for Evanston organized local volunteers to phone-bank and canvas in favor of the referendum.
Voters’ approval of the referendum swings Evanston away from its current system, in which the candidate with the most votes wins, even if they do not hold a majority. All other elections, including school board races and county elections, will continue to go to the candidate that receives the most votes.
Mayor Daniel Biss is among many Evanston officials that encouraged residents to vote “yes” on the referendum. Biss has long advocated for ranked-choice voting: he introduced a 2017 bill as an Illinois state senator that would have enacted ranked-choice voting for state elections.
The Democratic Party of Evanston also endorsed ranked-choice voting. Jane Neumann (Medill ‘76), who has been the Democratic Party of Evanston’s lead on the initiative, hopes the new system will lead to more inclusive campaigning.