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.

The system we are promoting is for state legislatures with multimember districts.  (Twenty members of a state legislature elected from each congressional district within a state.)

Voters are able to cast a minimum of three candidates (and up to ten if voting machines in a congressional district will accommodate that many choices).  Candidates are awarded points based on each ranked vote they receive.

The benefits of Ranked-Choice Voting include:

  • A broader range of choices.  “Winner-take-all” systems with single member districts are nearly always dominated by two major parties.  Countries with some form of proportional representation (like ranked choice voting with multimember districts) always have more than two viable political parties.  With more candidates running, both within parties and from different parties, ranked choice voting with multimember districts gives voters a much broader range of choices.
  • No “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 least support may win over a major party candidate who would be your preferred choice, if limited to a choice between two major party candidates.  With ranked choice voting you can vote for a minor party or independent candidate without worrying about the “spoiler effect.”
  • Eliminates “gerrymandering” completely.  Research has shown that the effects of gerrymandering are neutralized in legislatures electing at least five members from each district.
  • Neutralizes distortions in representation resulting from the Democratic Party’s dominance in urban areas and college towns and Republican dominance in rural areas.
  • Fewer “attack ads.”  Candidates are less likely to attack their opponents because they do not want to alienate voters who might otherwise cast a vote for them as an alternate choice.
  • Increased voter participation.  All of these other benefits combine to make it much more likely that citizens will vote.
  • No need for primary elections or special elections to fill a vacant office, saving taxpayers the expense of extra elections.

These benefits are not theoretical.  They are based on observable differences between electoral systems that have been in place for some time.

This video (below) explains the process of tabulating votes in an election for an executive office (where there is a single winner).  We are in the process of producing a video that will explain the tabulation process for ranked choice voting for legislatures with multiple member districts.