Executive Summary

  • In most elections, a voter casts a single ballot for the candidate of her choice.
  • Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), sometimes referred to as instant run-off voting, is an election system where voters rank candidates in order of preference, rather than simply mark their ballots for one person.
  • Under RCV, if no candidate receives a majority of first place votes, election officials conduct a series of closed-door run-offs by eliminating last place finishers and redistributing their votes to the next ranked candidates.
  • Frequently hailed as a way to increase voter choice, RCV is, in fact, a dangerously complex process that threatens to distort election outcomes and requires a high level of voter sophistication.
  • In a time when we want to encourage voter participation and confidence, we must reject risky schemes such as RCV that make voting more complicated, less accessible, and less transparent.