Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science


Political Science & International Relations


Dr. Casey Dominguez


American polarization has become extremely heightened in the recent political climate. As a result, partisan conflicts between Republicans and Democrats have caused a decrease in ideological moderation and a willingness to compromise, particularly within the legislative process. This has contributed to an increase in gridlock, which is the inability to pass legislation in an effective manner that actively contributes to the good of the American public. As bipartisan legislation efforts have decreased, America is in need of a reform that will contribute to reducing legislative gridlock caused by intensified partisan polarization. In this project, I analyze rank choice voting as a potential reform for reducing gridlock. After reading previous literature on the root causes of gridlock and the application of rank choice voting, I synthesize these theories with relevant case studies. I specifically focus on case studies within the United States that have instituted rank choice voting in the recent decades. I examine how the implementation of rank choice voting has contributed to reducing political extremism in campaigns, resulting in more moderate candidates being elected. With more centrist representatives in office, I analyze how this relates to a decrease in legislative gridlock, as polarization is reduced. The ultimate goal of this thesis is to establish a case for the benefits of rank choice voting by showing tangible evidence that rank choice voting has been successful in reducing legislative gridlock.