What is ranked choice voting?

Lots of people are talking about it. A political-science cottage industry now debates its effects on participation. Ranked-choice voting is variously associated with lower voter turnout, higher voter turnout, higher invalid ballot rates, more female candidates, more racial and ethnic minority candidates, more women in office, and more racial and ethnic minority women in office — “more” than in some comparison setting. But what is ranked choice voting?

Short answer: A type of ballot on which alternatives are ranked. Period.


Partisan dynamics behind ranked choice voting

Maine voters will decide in November whether to use the alternative vote (AV) for single-winner elections. AV lets voters rank candidates. If no candidate has an outright majority, voters’ lower rankings come into play. Many now call this “single-winner ranked choice voting.” Why does AV have traction? If it wins, how long can we expect it to last?