Does RCV work for military and overseas voters?


Jurisdictions with runoff elections must administer the sending and receiving of ballots multiple times: once for the first election and then again for the second. However, international mail takes time, so the deployed military and overseas voters of these jurisdictions may not have time to receive, complete, and return a runoff ballot before the day of the election. This time crunch is why federal law requires at least 45 days between rounds of voting in federal elections. Still, many state and local runoff elections occur as little as one week after the first round, effectively disenfranchising overseas and military voters.

With RCV ballots, a military or overseas voter can vote in the first round and then rank their back-up candidates. In the runoff, the ranked ballot counts for whichever candidate the overseas voter ranked highest. As of 2016, five states use RCV ballots to include overseas and military voters in runoff elections: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Illinois has created the option for local jurisdictions to use this solution as well, and Springfield, IL, has already adopted it according to that option.