RVC Studies and Resources
Voter Choice Act of 2020
The New York Times editorial board endorses RCV for the primaries, citing that, “single-winner elections do a poor job of winnowing a large field of candidates down to one who reflects majority agreement, and encourage the type of nastiness we’re seeing now, because it’s all-or-nothing for each candidate.” They go on to say “Polls consistently show high voter satisfaction with ranked-choice voting, and it’s no surprise. By allowing voters to express their support for more than one candidate, ranked-choice voting makes more votes count. By allowing voters to rank a personal favorite first, even if that candidate is unlikely to win, it eliminates the risk of “spoiler” candidates. And by encouraging voters to find something they like in multiple candidates, it fosters consensus.” The Times concludes that, “Reforming the primary system would go a long way toward making televised shouting matches curious relics of a dysfunctional age.”
Compared to winner-take-all elections, ranked choice voting in multi-winner contests allows more diverse groups of voters to elect candidates of choice. This promotes diversity of political viewpoint as well as diversity of candidate background and demographics. Even in single-winner races, ranked choice voting can promote the representation of historically under-represented groups like racial and ethnic minorities and women. A report co-authored by FairVote and the New America Foundation found that racial minority populations prefer ranked choice voting and find it easy to use, and that ranked choice voting increased turnout by 2.7 times in San Francisco.
RCV is the voter-centric language for one voting method which can be applied to single-winner races (like president) or multiple-winner races (like some city council at-large seats). An old scholarly rivalry lead to people referencing them as Instant Runoff Voting when used in single-winner races, and Single Transferable Vote when used in multiple-winner races. There are two important differences in how RCV get applied if you are administering the tally.