About Ranked Choice Voting
What is RCV?
Ranked Choice Voting is a voting system that allows voters to rank candidates on a ballot in order of preference rather than choosing one candidate.
How does it work?
Under common ranked choice voting systems, voters can rank up to three, five, or ten candidates in order of preference—first choice, second choice, third choice, fourth choice, and so on—instead of voting for just one candidate. Ranking other candidates does not harm a voter’s first choice, and voters can still vote for just one candidate if they prefer.
To determine the winner of the election, add up all the first-choice votes for each candidate. If one candidate receives more than 50% of the first-choice votes, they win the election outright.
But if no candidate gets more than 50% of the first-choice votes, then counting occurs in rounds. In each round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the votes for that candidate are transferred to the next-highest ranked candidate (if any) on each ballot. In other words, if your first-choice candidate gets eliminated, your vote goes to your second-choice candidate instead, and so on. This round-by-round process repeats until only two candidates remain, and the candidate with the most votes between the two wins the election.