Why choose RCV as an election method instead of traditional plurality voting?


Jurisdictions adopting RCV do so for several reasons, from saving money to increasing civility in campaigns. RCV can eliminate unnecessary primary and runoff elections.  In some jurisdictions without ranked-choice voting, if no candidate has a majority of the votes after the first primary or election, then a second election takes place in which only the two candidates with the most support in the first election run. Those candidates must campaign again - often in a very negative head-to-head race - and voters must return to the polls to vote again. Whether this runoff election occurs in a primary or Election Day, turnout often plummets in the second round.

With ranked-choice voting, a jurisdiction can get the benefit of two rounds of voting in a single, more representative, higher turnout election. That is why ranked-choice voting is often called instant runoff voting. In this context, RCV can save the jurisdiction a lot of money - the entire cost of a second election - while helping promote majority support and civil campaigning. Additional election cost has been the motivation for the adoption of RCV in places like San Francisco (replacing runoffs) and Minneapolis (replacing primaries).