About RCV

What is Ranked Choice Voting?

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) allows voters to rank candidates by preference instead of choosing just one. It works like this:

1st Choice: The candidate you love.

2nd choice: The candidate you like.

3rd or 4th choice: The candidate you like slightly less.

5th choice: The candidate you can stand.

RCV puts voters first. It puts more power in the hands of voters, where it belongs.

With Ranked Choice Voting, your vote has more impact on the outcome of elections. 


What are the benefits of RCV?

RCV Eliminates “Vote-Splitting” 

In RCV elections, you always get to vote for your favorite candidate, even if they don’t have a good chance of winning. If your favorite candidate gets eliminated, then your vote immediately counts for your next choice. You can truly vote your conscience without worrying about wasting your vote. Ranking your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th choices will never hurt your favorite candidate. It simply amplifies your voice in the process. We rank our preferences all the time in daily life. It’s just as easy to in the voting booth. 

RCV Increases Voter Turnout 

Cities that have RCV elections have seen a steady increase in voter turnout. Turn out improves with meaningful votes. 

RCV Fosters Civil Elections 

In RCV elections, candidates often need 2nd and 3rd choice votes to win a majority of the vote. As such, they will ask for your first-choice vote, but if another candidate is your favorite, they will also ask for your second and third choices. Candidates are not likely to get your second or third choice vote if they have been engaging in negative “mudslinging” personal attacks against your favorite candidate.

RCV Eliminates Separate Run-Off Elections 

With RCV, you don’t need to show up to vote twice in the event of a runoff. Instead, you get an immediate majority winner in a single, higher-turnout election. This saves money by preventing the need to run a second election.

RCV Promotes More Unity

Our state is at its best when we unite as one, but these days it feels like politics is tearing us apart. RCV helps make sure we all work together for the common good. It opens the door for candidates who put the interests of everyday voters first. 

RCV Promotes Diversity (OR Non-Established Candidates to Run)

More women and candidates of color have run and won in elections with RCV voting ballots. It gives all communities fairer representation and opens voters to support candidates with the best ideas, not just a narrow demographic. 

More benefits of ranked voting:

  • It’s been proven to promote equity and elect more women and people of color – The data shows women and people of color run and win more in ranked elections.
  • Fairness in crowded races – Voters shouldn’t have to worry about “electability” or splitting the vote. Our system should have fair outcomes, even in crowded elections. 
  • Voter choice, freedom, and empowerment – It reduces strategic voting and pressure to vote for the ‘devil you know’.
  • Ranking is natural and easy to understand. 
  • It helps dissolve toxic politics and changes the culture of power – It incentivizes coalition-building and appealing as voters’ second choice, not the zero-sum ego games and “wait your turn” dynamics of our current system.
  • Ranking preserves Native Washingtonian voting power and combats political displacement. When they implemented ranked voting in Oakland, CA, Black representation was maintained despite severe gentrification and displacement.
  • Candidates have to build a coalition that includes 1st *and* 2nd choices (you can’t win with only 2nd choice votes).