Ranked-choice voting

Ranked choice voting (RCV) allows voters to cast votes for multiple candidates for an elective office, ranking their choices in order of preference.  Tabulation proceeds in sequential rounds in which last-place candidates are eliminated, the next choices of those who voted for them are distributed among remaining candidates, and the first candidate with a majority is elected.

The tabulation works as follows: All first-choice votes for candidates are counted.  If a candidate has a majority of the votes, that candidate is elected.  If no candidate has a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the second-choice votes of people who listed that candidate first on their ballots are distributed among the remaining candidates.  If a candidate has a majority of the votes, that candidate is elected.  If no candidate has a majority, the process is repeated. with the candidate with the fewest votes eliminated and the second-choice votes of people who listed that candidate first on their ballots distributed among the remaining candidates.  This process is repeated until a candidate has a majority.

The benefits of Ranked-Choice Voting include:

  • Voters can vote for a third party or independent candidate without worrying about the “spoiler” effect. (In a “winner-take-all” system, voting for a third party or independent candidate can make it more likely that a major party candidate you don’t want to support may win over a major party candidate who would be your preferred choice, if limited to a choice between two major party candidates.)
  • Eliminates “wasted votes.”  You can vote for your favorite candidate, even if they are given little chance of winning, and still know that your second or third choice can ultimately go to a candidate with a better chance of winning.
  • Eliminating the spoiler effect and the fear of wasted votes gives independent or third party candidates a much better chance of winning.
  • With a broader range of candidates running, both within parties, and with different parties, voters have a much broader range of choices on election day.
  • Increased voter participation.  All of these other benefits combine to make it much more likely that citizens will vote.
  • Provides an instant run-off system, avoiding the expense of an extra election.

Ranked choice voting for state-wide offices (Missouri)

The petition filed in Missouri provides for ranked choice voting in elections of state-wide offices (United States Senator, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Auditor).  Voters casting votes for candidates for these offices will be able to vote for multiple candidates for each office, ranked in order of preference.

This petition has been approved by the Secretary of State for circulation in Missouri.  If enough signatures are obtained by May 16, 2018, it will be on the ballot on November 6, 2018.  If approved by the voters, it will be effective 30 days later.

If you want to help gather signatures for this and/or our other petitions, click on “Join the Campaign” in the side-bar.  

To print copies of this petition, go to the “Print Petitions” tab.  Be certain to read the “Instructions for Circulators” before you begin gathering signatures.

This is the full text of this proposed amendment:

Be it resolved by the people of the state of Missouri that the Constitution be amended:

Article VIII, Section 24 of the Constitution is enacted to read as follows:

Article VIII, Section 24.  In general elections for the offices of United States Senator, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and State Auditor, voters will be given the opportunity to rank candidates in order of preference.  

For offices elected by this method of ranked-choice voting, the ballot must be simple and easy to understand and allow a voter to rank up to five candidates for an office in order of preference. A voter may include no more than one write-in candidate among that voter’s ranked choices for each office.

For all offices elected by ranked-choice voting, the Secretary of State shall tabulate the votes according to the following method: Tabulation proceeds in sequential rounds.  In the first round, only first choice votes are tabulated.  If a candidate receives a majority of the votes (fifty percent of the total votes cast, plus one vote) that candidate is elected.  If no candidate receives a majority of the first-choice votes cast, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and the candidates listed as the second choice on ballots cast for the candidate being eliminated are distributed among the remaining candidates.  In subsequent rounds, a voter’s third, fourth, or fifth choice may be utilized, in order, as needed.  Ballots that do not rank any continuing candidate, that contain votes for more than one candidate at the same ranking, or in which a voter has left a ranking blank once that ranking would have been utilized, will be considered to be “exhausted ballots” and will not be counted in that round, or subsequent rounds.  This process is repeated in as many rounds as needed until one candidate wins election by receiving at least fifty percent plus one of the total valid votes tabulated in that round.

Election officials shall determine a random selection algorithm, prior to tabulation, to resolve ties between candidates.  If a tie occurs at any point in the tabulation procedure and tabulation cannot proceed until the tie is resolved, then the random selection algorithm shall resolve the tie.