What is Ranked Choice Voting?



What is it?

Ranked choice voting (RCV) describes voting systems that allow voters to rank candidates in order of preference, and then uses those rankings to elect candidates who best represent their constituents.

RCV is straightforward for voters: rank candidates in order of choice. Voters can rank as many candidates as they want, without fear that ranking others will hurt the chances of their favorite candidate.

How the votes are counted depends on whether RCV is used to elect a single office, like a governor, or whether it is used to elect more than one position at once, like an at-large city council or a state legislature elected in a multi-winner district. 


Rank Choice Voting Ballot Example



  • Ends the “Spoiler Effect” — where similar candidates split the vote, throwing the election to a less popular candidate
  • Curbs Negative Campaigning — by focusing on what unites us as opposed to what divides us
  • Enables Every Vote to Count —  in determining the election's winner(s)
  • Eliminates Strategic Voting — allowing you to vote your preference, not just who you think might win
  • Ensures Winners with Broad Support
    • Single Member Districts — The winner earns more than 50% of the vote or has the most votes after all rounds are counted
    • Multi-Member Districts — Does away with block-voting and one-party sweeps, and leads to more proportional representation. (Majority factions get a majority of seats, but not necessary all seats)

Learn More About RCV: Single-winner Elections | Multi-winner Elections