Asked Questions about Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)
use ranked choice voting?
does ranked choice voting (RCV) work?
will be elected using ranked choice voting?
kind of voting equipment will be used to count the ballots?
the Department of Elections still have to decide what happens to a
particular ballot if a voter skips a ranking, or ranks the same
the optical scan voting equipment comes with what is known as
"error notification." If a voter makes a mistake on her or his
ballot (such as skipping a ranking), the equipment immediately will
notify the voter of their mistake and the voter will have an opportunity
to correct it before casting their final ballot. That feature will help
to decrease the number of errors and spoiled ballots.
kind of RCV procedures will be followed on election night?
the counting of absentee ballots and provisional ballots slow down
determination of winners?
ranked choice voting, I have three rankings.
Does that mean I have three votes?
I really want my first-choice candidate to win, should I rank the
candidate as my first, second and third choice?
I can't decide between two candidates, can I give them the same ranking?
works pretty much the same way. If
any candidate wins a majority of first-rankings they win the election,
just as with the previous system. If no candidate has a majority, the
ìinstantî or ìsame-dayî runoff begins. The candidates with the
fewest votes are eliminated, just as with the December runoff. If your
favorite candidate advances to the instant runoff, you continue to vote
for your favorite, your vote stays with your candidate as long as she or
he is still in the race. But
if your favorite is eliminated, you get to support your runoff choice
(one of the continuing candidates), as indicated by your second ranking.
At each step of the ballot counting, every voter has exactly one vote
for either their first choice (if that candidate is still in the race)
or their runoff choice -- just like they had with the December runoff.
Note that, just like with a December runoff, itís only those
voters whose candidate has been eliminated whose vote counts for one of
the continuing candidates as their runoff choice. Voters whose favorite
candidate is still in the race continue to vote for that first-ranked
happens if I don't rank all three of my rankings?
RCV elect candidates who are ranked second or third on the most ballots?
rewards two qualities: having a strong core of support (as evidenced by
a sufficient number of first-place rankings) but also a broad base of
support (as evidenced by a fair number of second and third place
rankings). If a candidate
has just one of these, she or he will probably lose. If a candidate has
many first-place rankings (but less than a majority), but is not ranked
second and third place on enough ballots, that candidate will lose.
If a candidate is ranked second and third place on many ballots,
but does not have a sufficient number of first-place rankings, that
candidate will be eliminated in the early rounds.
places using ranked ballot elections like London, Ireland and Cambridge,
MA allow their voters unlimited rankings. Why do we only have three
RCV save money?
have heard that with Ranked Choice Voting it is possible for a winning
candidate to win with fewer than a majority
of votes. Is this true?
is analogous to a situation where some voters donít return to vote for
the December runoff. But considering the fact that voter turnout usually
decreased between the November election and the December runoff -- often
by anywhere from 30 to 50% -- more voters likely will participate in the
final decisive runoff under ranked choice voting than under the previous
December runoff system.
D is in last place and is eliminated from the runoff.
Let's say of 15 D voters, 5 ranked A as their next choice, 5
ranked B, and 5 ranked E. But
E has been eliminated, so of these 5 voters, let's say their next
(third)-ranked candidate is: 3 rank B and 2
rank A. Now the vote totals stand:
down to three candidates, so one of the candidates is about to win, when
the current last place candidate, Candidate C, is eliminated. But here's
where the 'continuing candidate' factor comes in.
C is in last place and is eliminated from the runoff.
Of the 25 voters who were voting for C, let's say 5 rank A as
their next choice, 10 rank B, and 10 rank Candidate D as their next
choice. But Candidate D has been eliminated from the runoff, so for
those ballots it goes to each voterís next ranked candidate. Let's say
of these 10, 7 ranked Candidate E as their next (third) choice, and
three ranked Candidate B. But Candidate E also has been eliminated from
the runoff. Since that is those voters third ranking, they have no more
runoff choices to give their vote to and so those seven votes go into
what is called an ìexhausted pile.î They are ballots that do not
ëcontinue,í and the voters of these ballots do not participate in
the final runoff.
means that the winner is candidate A with 48 votes -- slightly less than
a majority of the original 100 ballots, but 51.6% of the 93 continuing
ballots, with 7 ballots exhausted.
is analogous to those 7 voters not returning for the December runoff,
which of course in most December runoffs happened in large numbers.
But with RCV, the drop-off -- as indicated by the number of
ëcontinuing ballotsí -- will be much less than with December
are the final vote totals: