Wisconsin Lawmakers Want to End Party Primaries in Congressional Races

A bipartisan group of Wisconsin state lawmakers says they can make Washington work better by changing state election systems

In this Oct. 20, 2020, file photo, a man casts his ballot at Tippecanoe Library on the first day of in-person early voting for the November 3rd elections in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

A bipartisan group of Wisconsin lawmakers proposed a new kind of election system for Congressional races on Friday, arguing that the state’s existing system exacerbates partisanship and discourages compromise, NBC News reports.

Currently in Wisconsin, the winners of party primaries compete in the general election. This bill proposes switching to "Final-Five" voting, which would require nonpartisan, single-ballot primaries in federal races. The top five candidates would then proceed to the general election, where voters would vote on ranked-choice ballots to determine a winner through an instant runoff. Last year, Alaska voters approved a similar "Top Four" measure by ballot initiative.

"Right now, members of Congress really don't have the freedom to work in a bipartisan fashion because they can be taken out in a low-turnout party primary," said state Sen. Jeff Smith, a Democrat from Eau Claire and co-sponsor of the bill.

Still, it would need to capture the support of a Republican-controlled Legislature to pass, and less than half the bill's sponsors are from the GOP.

Read the full story at NBCNews.com.

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