It's Time for Better Elections

Ranked choice voting is a simple, yet powerful change we can make to give Maryland voters a stronger voice in our elections.

What is Ranked Choice VoTing?

Ranked choice voting (RCV) gives voters the power to fully express their support for candidates. RCV is also known as instant runoff voting or alternative vote (internationally). Whatever the name the results are the same, it’s about giving voters greater choice, and a stronger voice.

Voters have the freedom to rank candidates in order of choice – first, second, third, and so on – instead of just picking one. All first choices are counted, and if a candidate has a majority, then they win, just like any other election. If no candidate has a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and those who ranked that candidate as “number 1” have their ballots go to their next choice. This process of eliminating the last-place candidate and having their votes go their next choice continues until a candidates wins with more than half the votes.

Ranked choice voting has been adopted for state and federal elections in Maine, and for U.S. cities in ten states. It is used by overseas and military voters to vote in places with runoff elections in five other states. Over 50 U.S. colleges and universities use ranked choice voting to elect student government officers.

Ranked choice voting has a number of benefits, including promoting majority support, minimizing negative campaigning, and providing voters with more choices. In multi-winner districts, it can promote fairer and more inclusive representation than winner-take-all methods.

Studies show that ranked choice voting rewards candidates for running more positive campaigns and focusing on the issues. In addition, more women and more people of color have run and won in ranked choice voting elections.