What is Ranked Choice Voting?
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is a simple update to our democratic elections that allows voters to rank candidates in order of their preference (first choice, second choice, third choice, and so on). This small upgrade to the ballot is a dramatic improvement to our current method of voting, and will ultimately yield better election outcomes across the state of Kentucky.
In RCV elections, voters still only get to cast one vote. However, ranking candidates allows Kentuckians to better express the intricacy of their views at the ballot box.
With Ranked Choice Voting:
- You will never have to strategize about a candidates electability
- You will never have to settle for the “lesser of two evils”
- You will never cast a wasted vote
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How are Votes Counted with RCV?
When electing candidates for a single-seat office (e.g. mayor), all first choices are tallied. If a candidate wins a majority among the first-choice votes, that candidate is the winner.
If no candidate receives a majority (>50%), the candidate with the fewest first choice votes is eliminated. The second choices from those ballots are then added to the remaining candidates. This process continues until one candidate receives a majority of the final votes. Simple!
Image courtesy of Voter Choice MA
Ranked-choice voting works equally well when there are multiple candidates elected to a governing body, as in the case of a city council or a state legislature. The threshold for winning is adjusted depending on the number of seats to fill. A similar process of eliminating and electing candidates through rounds of counting occurs until all the seats are filled.