Ranked Choice Voting | Fair Vote Minnesota

Ranked Choice Voting

Ranked Choice Voting

At all levels, our political system is growing more partisan, negative, and divisive, leaving voters feeling increasingly alienated and disempowered. The result? Nearly half of all eligible voters stayed home in the 2016 presidential election and there’s no sign of this phenomenon improving soon. In fact, a new study from Johns Hopkins University reports that an alarming number of voters no longer have faith in our democratic institutions or believe they are important.

And so we must ask, “Why?”

We at FairVote Minnesota believe the problem lies in our broken electoral system and that we need systemic reform to fix it.

Ranked Choice Voting is a critical response to the deep and growing problems in our democracy. It is a practical, proven electoral system that gives voters more choice and voice in their democracy, rewards candidates who find common ground and build consensus, eliminates spoiler and wasted vote dynamics, and assures that winners have broad popular support.

How RCV Works

Ranked Choice Voting is as easy as 1-2-3. Every voter gets one vote, but under RCV, voters have the power to rank candidates in order of preference instead of choosing just one. Your vote always counts for your highest-ranked candidate, and your second choice only counts if your first choice is defeated.

In a single-seat race (e.g., mayor) if a candidate receives a majority (50%+1) of first choices, that candidate wins. If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest first choices is eliminated and those ballots are allocated to remaining candidates based on those voters’ second choices. This process repeats until a candidate reaches the winning threshold, or in the case of a multi-seat race (e.g., at large 4 member city council), until all seats are filled. Click here to see how the ballots are tallied in multi-seat races.

It’s truly as easy as 1-2-3!


View a sample ballot

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) explained for single-seat elections.

Where is RCV Used

RCV is a tested and accepted voting method used in several jurisdictions across the United States – Minneapolis & St. Paul (MN), San Francisco, Berkeley, San Leandro & Oakland (CA), the state of Maine, Takoma Park (MD), Hendersonville (NC), Portland (ME), Cambridge (MA), Telluride (CO), Benton County (OR) for municipal elections and in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina for military and overseas voters. RCV is pending implementation in more than a dozen other cities, including Memphis (TN) and Santa Fe (NM).


RCV is also used in democracies across the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and London.

Strong voter education has resulted in high approval ratings in all of these jurisdictions and successful ballot measure campaigns are adding to the number of jurisdictions using Ranked Choice Voting every year.

Ranked Choice Voting is also used in democracies such as Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and London.

It is also used in hundreds of colleges and by several organizations, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the Best Picture award.

See full list of places and organizations using RCV across the country.

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