Ranked Choice Voting: Breaking the Duality

Red Madison

By Kevin Cunningham and Matthew Dahlberg

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is one of a few different electoral systems, or models of voting, that can be used to help determine the candidate that people like best. In this model, voters still have one single vote, like under the system of First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) voting we presently use, but they can add conditions on how this vote is used, to say ‘this is the candidate I like best, second best, third best…’ and so on.

The following example helps outline how this works. Here, we will be voting on our favorite President on a coin: Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, or Roosevelt. Each stack of coins represents a voter’s choices in order from first (top) to fourth (bottom).

First round – No majority has been reached, so an instant run-off occurs. The candidate with the least votes (Jefferson) is eliminated from the stack and we…

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