Implementing Choice Voting
Implementing a ranked choice voting (RCV) system requires election officials to be cognizant of certain differences between ranked ballot systems and typical plurality or winner-take-all systems. From voting equipment to voter education, ranked choice systems may bring changes to a community's election system and practices. FairVote's Ranked Voting Guidelinesdocument therefore serves to illustrate the various components necessary to successfully implement an RCV election, using either the instant runoff or choice voting method.This document specifies guidelines for the conduct of ranked voting elections, where ranked voting includes both instant runoff voting (IRV) for single-winner contests and choice voting for multiple-winner contests. This document includes ballot, tabulation, reporting, manual audit, and recount guidelines. The guidelines for computer tabulation and hand tabulation are treated separately where appropriate.


Jurisdictions purchasing equipment and states appropriating funds for equipment should also ensure that the new equipment gives the jurisdiction maximum flexibility to adopt any legal voting system. Ranked voting elections can be conducted with all kinds of voting equipment. Most modern voting equipment is compatible with all voting systems and ballot types but will generally have to be retrofitted or upgraded in order to make the equipment ready to use different voting systems and ballot types. The only way to ensure machine readiness is to include a provision in the Request for Proposals or appropriations bill. This will not add to the cost of the equipment in most cases, but it could save the cost of an expensive upgrade in the future.

Recent Articles
October 19th 2009
A better election system
Lowell Sun

Election expert Doug Amy explains how choice voting can "inject new blood" into the elections of Lowell (MA), and give voters a greater incentive to participate.

October 16th 2009
Haven't Detroit voters spoken enough?
Livingston Daily

In Detroit, there have been three mayors in the past two years and the current one has come under scrutiny. Perhaps a system like instant runoff voting will help bring political stability to motor city.

August 21st 2009
Black candidate for Euclid school board to test new voting system
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Limited voting, a form of proportional voting, will be used in Euclid (OH), in the hopes of allowing better representation of minorities.

July 2nd 2009
Reforming Albany
New York Times

FairVote's Rob Richie responds in a letter to the editor making the case for proportional voting systems to bring substantive reform to New York's legislature.