Ranked-choice voting (RCV) is an election method that allows voters the option to rank candidates in order of preference (first choice, second choice, third choice, and so on). Ranking candidates is different from simply selecting one candidate or what is known as plurality voting. If a candidate receives more than half of the first choices, that candidate wins, just like in any other election. However, if there is no majority winner after counting the first choices, the race is decided by an instant runoff. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and voters who ranked that candidate as their first choice will have their votes count for their next choice. This process continues until a majority winner or a candidate won with more than half of the vote.
Use the resources below to find out more about why jurisdictions adopt RCV, how it works, the different types of RCV, it’s history, and where it’s currently in use below. Ranked-choice voting can also be used to create proportional representation when used to elect multiple candidates at once.