The current voting system – in which the candidate who gets the most votes wins, whether or not it's a majority – is tailor-made for a black-and-white world in which everyone is either a Republican or a Democrat. The problem is, legions of American voters can’t be pigeonholed that way. A Gallup poll last year showed that roughly 43 percent of Americans identify as independents – and those voters are ill-served by a system that actively constricts choice.
RCV opens up the political process and levels the playing field for all candidates. No longer does a minor party candidate need to be cast aside as a “spoiler,” nor do voters need to feel like they’ll waste their vote by voting for their favorite candidate. This is the case because RCV is like an instant runoff, allowing, for example, a voter’s second ranking to count if their first choice candidate doesn’t make it through the initial round.
Under RCV, voters get to rank their choices – first choice, second choice, third choice, etc. In a single-seat race, if a candidate receives a majority of first choices, that candidate wins. If not, the least popular candidate is eliminated and his or her ballots are divided among the remaining candidates based on voters’ second choices. If there's still no majority winner, the process repeats until one candidate gains a majority of support in the continuing ballots. Or, in the case of multi-winner elections, until all seats are filled