What is ranked choice voting (RCV)?

Ranked choice voting (RCV) is a way to ensure elections are fair for all voters. RCV allows voters to indicate their full range of preferences by ranking the candidates in order of preference. Click Here To Learn More

  • When RCV is used for single-winner elections, also known as instant runoff voting (IRV), your vote transfers to your next highest preference when your highest active preference is no longer viable. Essentially, you have backup options to make sure your vote counts. Click Here To Learn More

  • When RCV is used in multi-winner elections, also known as proportional ranked choice voting or the single transferable vote (STV), candidates win seats in proportion to the number of votes they win based on voters' rankings. Click Here To Learn More

How do you vote in a ranked choice voting election?

  • Voters rank the candidates in order of preference, as many or as few as they wish, by completing the bubble in the appropriate column.
  • Here's a sample ballot for both single and multi-winner elctions:

Do I have to rank all of the candidates?

  • No, rank only as many or as few as you like, even just one.
  • Ranking additional candidates does not hurt the chances of your top candidate.
  • Ranking additional candidates provides backup choices if your first choice cannot use it to be elected.

What happens to my favorite candidate if I rank a second choice?

  • Ranking other candidates will never harm the chances of your first choice. 

  • Your vote always stays with the highest-ranked viable candidate on your ballot.

How does ranked choice voting work?

Single Member Election:

Multi-Member Election:

How are multi-winner election thresholds determined?

  • The election threshold is determined, based on (a) the number of seats to be filled; and (b) the number of votes cast.  It is the smallest number of votes that prohibits the election of more candidates than there are seats, or any number higher than 1 / (# of seats + 1).

  • As examples, the threshold for winning one seat in a three seat district is just over one-fourth of the votes; in a four seat district, just over one-fifth of the votes; and so on.

Where is RCV used?

RCV is used for presidential primaries, regular primaries, special elections, state-wide elections, in party elections, local elections, and military + overseas voting. To Learn More Click Here