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In our current system, voters are able to express only a single preference as they cast their vote. Many find this limited choice requires them to engage in strategic voting:

  • If I vote for my true favorite, will it be a “wasted” vote?

  • Will that wasted vote be a “spoiler” and actually help the candidate I like the least?

  • I’d be happy with either of two candidates, but by “splitting” the vote, would neither win?

Often in these single choice “plurality” systems, a candidate wins without majority support.

Single choice elections
It doesn’t take a majority to win

What’s wrong with today’s system?

How can we fix it?

Ensure that the winning candidate is supported by over 50% of the electorate

Restoring confidence in our democracy requires changes to the way we elect our leaders that can be trusted and supported by all Americans. Majority choice elections will:

  • Reduce strategic voting: no wasted vote, no spoiler effect, no vote splitting.

  • Increase voter turnout as voters realize their vote is more meaningful.

  • Improve civility in campaigning as candidates try to appeal to voters for more than just first place votes.

  • Expand opportunity for a wider diversity of candidates.

  • Elect those with broader appeal, making them more accountable to an entire electorate.

  • Make general election candidates more competitive.

  • Allow elected representatives to support bi-partisan legislation as they won’t have to rely on the support of a slim portion of the electorate to be re-elected.

As alternatives to the current single-choice voting system, the three election innovations below incentivize political candidates to appeal to voters more broadly in order to achieve majority support.

Ranked Choice Voting

RCV is a simple, commonsense, and non-partisan method of voting that ensures that winning candidates receive a majority – over 50% - of the votes cast.

How does it work?

  • Voters rank the candidates in order of preference. 

  • If no candidate earns a majority of the first-choice votes, the lowest polling candidate is eliminated and each of their voters’ single votes are transferred to their next-best choice.

  • This continues until one candidate has the majority and is declared the winner. 

Who already uses it?

  • RCV is used in Alaska and Maine, as well as 25 counties and cities across the country, including Takoma Park, MD, and New York City. At least 27 more have approved RCV for use in future elections.

  • Military and overseas voters cast RCV ballots in federal runoff elections in seven states.

Proportional RCV

Proportional RCV is a form of ranked choice voting often used in multi-member, at-large elections. It offers all the benefits of RCV plus improved electorate representation, as groups of voters will elect winners in proportion to their share of the votes cast.

How does it work?

  • How does it work?

  • As with RCV, voters rank their choices.

  • To win, a candidate must receive the “threshold” -- the total number of ballots cast divided by the number of seats.

  • Once the threshold is reached, the candidate is elected, and excess votes for that candidate are allocated to their second choice. 

  • This process continues until all of the seats are filled.

Who uses it?

Eight U.S. cities use Proportional RCV for their elections, including Arlington, VA, Cambridge, MA, and Minneapolis, MN, and a further four will use it for the first time in 2024.

Approval Voting

Approval Voting is a single-winner voting method that allows voters to express their vote for any number of candidates of which they approve. It is simple for both administrators and voters.

How does it work?

  • Instead of casting a single vote, voters indicate a vote for all those candidates they approve of.

  • The candidate receiving the most “approval” votes wins.

Who uses it?

Two U.S. cities use Approval Voting: St Louis, MO and Fargo, ND.

Majority choice elections

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