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Ranked Choice Voting

Sample ranked choice voting ballotRanked-choice voting (RCV) is an electoral system that allows voters to express their preferences for multiple candidates in order of preference. Instead of casting a single vote for a single candidate, voters rank the candidates according to their personal preferences. In the counting process, if a candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, they are declared the winner. However, if no candidate reaches the required majority, the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated, and their votes are redistributed to the remaining candidates based on the voters' subsequent preferences. This process continues until one candidate accumulates a majority of votes, ensuring that the ultimate winner has broad support.

One of the distinct advantages of ranked-choice voting is its potential to foster a more civil and substantive political discourse. As candidates seek to secure not only first-choice votes but also second and third choices, they are encouraged to engage in constructive campaigning that focuses on policies and solutions rather than personal attacks. Furthermore, this voting method can lead to cost savings by eliminating the need for separate runoff elections, as it effectively determines a majority winner in a single voting round. Ranked-choice voting empowers voters to express their preferences more fully, promotes consensus-driven outcomes, and strengthens the alignment between elected officials and the preferences of the electorate.

Ranked Choice Voting FAQ

What is Ranked Choice Voting?
Ranked choice voting or “Instant Run-Off Voting” allows voters to rank all of the candidates in order of preference when marking their ballots. Ranked choice voting eliminates the need for run-off elections.
How do I mark the ranked choice voting ballot?
The ranked choice ballot card is designed in a side-by-side column format and lists the names of all of the candidates. This format allows a voter to select a first-choice candidate in the first column, a second-choice candidate in the second column, continuing until the voter is done ranking their preferred choices.
How are ranked choice votes counted?
With ranked choice voting, if a candidate receives a majority (50%+1) of the first-choice votes cast for that office, that candidate will be elected. However, if no candidate receives a majority of the first-choice votes cast, an elimination process begins. The candidate who received the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated. Next, the voters whose first choice was cast for the eliminated candidate will have their second-choice vote cast in the second round. This elimination process will continue until one candidate receives a majority and is deemed the winner.
If I really want my first-choice candidate to win, should I rank the candidate as my first, second and third choice?
No. Ranking a candidate more than once does not benefit the candidate. If a voter ranks one candidate as the voter's first, second and third choice, it is the same as if the voter leaves the second or third choice blank. In other words, if the candidate is eliminated, that candidate is no longer eligible to receive second or third choice votes.
Can I give candidates the same ranking?
No. If a voter gives more than one candidate the same ranking, the vote cannot be counted. Only one candidate can represent the voter's first, second, etc., choice.
Can I write a candidate's name on my ballot in any column?
Does my vote still count if I only select one choice?
Yes. Your vote will count for your one choice.
What if I have further questions?
If you have further questions about ranked choice voting, please call the Midvale City Recorder at 801-576-7200, or the Salt Lake County Elections Office at 385-468-7400.

Training Webinar for Candidates in

Municipal Ranked Choice Voting Elections