What is Ranked Choice Voting?

William Casillas, Writer

Ranked choice voting (RCV), also known as instant-runoff voting, is gaining popularity as a more efficient and fair method of running elections. The existing U.S voting system, sometimes produces false results and low voter turnout. RCV, on the other hand, would give voters more choices and guarantees that the winner has the approval of the majority of voters.

Under the system our country currently uses, when there are multiple candidates running for a single office, the candidate who receives the most votes wins, regardless of whether they posses the backing of the majority of voters. This could result in situations where the majority of citizens don’t really approve of the winner, which may lead to disagreements and disconnect among those who supported unsuccessful candidates.

By enabling voters to rank their favorite candidates in order of preference, RCV provides a way to address this problem. If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is removed, and their votes are sent to their second-choice candidate. This process continues until one candidate has a majority of votes.

U.S Senator John McCain said “Instant runoff voting will lead to good government because voters will elect leaders who have the support of a majority. Elected leaders will be more likely to listen to all and cities will be able to enjoy big tax savings and keep majority rule.”

By allowing voters to express their broad range of choices rather of only supporting one candidate, RCV not only ensures that the winner has the support of the majority of voters, but it also allows them to support a range of great candidate in the process. As a consequence of the belief that their voices are heard, voters may turn out in greater numbers.

Furthermore, important public figures such as former President Barack Obama have supported RCV in small ways. In 2002 as a state senator for Illinois, Obama introduced SB 1789 which would have introduced ranked choice voting to congressional and primary elections in Illinois.

Compared to the current system presently used in the United States, ranked choice voting is a more effective and fair method of conducting elections. RCV gives voters more options and contributes to a more democratic and inclusive election process by allowing voters to rank their preferred candidates and ensuring that the winner has the backing of the majority of voters.