also known as ranked-choice voting
or preferential voting
, is any election voting system
in which voters use a ranked (or preferential) ballot to select more than one candidate (or other alternative being voted on) and to rank
these choices in a sequence on the ordinal scale
of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. There are multiple ways in which the rankings can be counted to determine which candidate or candidates (or other outcome(s)) is or are elected (or adopted), and these different methods may produce different results from the same set of ballots. Ranked voting is different from cardinal voting
, where candidates are independently rated, rather than ranked.
The term "ranked-choice voting
" (RCV) is used by the US organization FairVote
to refer to the use of ranked ballots with specific counting methods: either instant-runoff voting
for single-winner elections or single transferable vote
for multi-winner elections. In some locations, the term "preferential voting" is used to refer to this combination of ballot type and counting method, while in other locations this term has various more-specialized meanings.
Single Transferable Voting (STV) is categorized specifically as a voting system to resemble proportional representation through multiple constituencies rather than one. Since both STV and RCV hold similar processes, they are commonly used interchangeably. Those advocating for STV argue that since candidates of different parties can be written on the ballot, rather than from just one, all members of government can be elected based upon their individual merits.
Voters also have the option to create connections with local candidates under STV, where constituencies can cover a smaller area, creating a local link, giving voters a choice of representatives to contact.
A ranked voting system collects more information from voters than the single-mark ballots currently used in most governmental elections, many of which use first-past-the-post
and mixed-member proportional
There are many types of ranked voting, with several used in governmental elections. Instant-runoff voting
is used in Australian state and federal elections, in Ireland for its presidential elections, and by some jurisdictions in the United States
, United Kingdom, and New Zealand. A type and classification of ranked voting is called the single transferable vote
, which is used for national elections in Ireland and Malta, the Australian Senate, for regional and local elections in Northern Ireland, for all local elections in Scotland, and for some local elections in New Zealand and the United States. Borda count
is used in Slovenia
. Contingent vote
and Supplementary vote
are also used in a few locations. Condorcet methods
are used by private organizations and minor parties
, but currently are not used in governmental elections.
Arrow's impossibility theorem
and Gibbard's theorem
prove that all voting systems must make trade-offs between desirable properties, such as the preference between two candidates being unaffected by the popularity of a third candidate.
Accordingly there is no consensus among academics or public servants as to the "best" electoral system.
Recently, an increasing number of authors, including David Farrell
, Ian McAllister
and Jurij Toplak
, see preferentiality as one of the characteristics by which electoral systems can be evaluated.
According to this view, all electoral methods are preferential, but to different degrees and may even be classified according to their preferentiality.
By this logic, cardinal voting
methods such as Score voting
or STAR voting
are also "preferential".
There are different preferential voting systems, so it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between them.
Selection of the Condorcet winner
is generally considered by psephologists
as the ideal election outcome for a ranked system,
so "Condorcet efficiency" is important when evaluating different methods of preferential voting.
The Condorcet winner is the one that would win every two-way contest against every other alternative.
Another criterion used to gauge the effectiveness of a preferential voting system is its ability to withstand manipulative voting strategies, when voters cast ballots that do not reflect their preferences in the hope of electing their first choice. This can be rated on at least two dimensions—the number of voters needed to game the system, and the sophistication of the strategy necessary.
Sample ballot of ranked voting using column marks
This system simulates a series of runoff elections. Voters may ranked all candidates as their 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, and so on rather than indicating support for only one candidate.
A candidate with the majority (more than 50%) of first choice votes (the number one spot on the ballot) wins the election outright.
If no candidate is the first choice of more than half of the voters, then all votes cast for the candidate with the fewest first choices are redistributed to the remaining candidates based on who is ranked next on each ballot. If this does not result in any candidate receiving a majority, further rounds of redistribution occur.
This method is thought to be resistant to manipulative voting as the only strategies that work against it require voters to highly rank choices they actually want to see lose. At the same time, this system fails Condorcet criterion
, meaning a candidate can win even if the voters preferred a different candidate, and fails the monotonicity criterion
, where ranking a candidate higher can lessen the chances he or she will be elected and vice versa. Additionally, instant-runoff voting has a lower Condorcet efficiency
than similar systems when there are more than four choices.
With the contingent vote, all candidates other than the two receiving the most first-choice votes are eliminated at once, and choices are reallocated to one of those two.
Single transferable vote
Sample ballot of ranked voting using written names
This method is used for electing multi-member constituencies. Any candidates that achieve the number of votes required for election (the quota) are elected and their surplus votes above the quota are redistributed to voters' next choice candidate(s). Once this is done, if not all seats have been filled then the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated, and their votes are also redistributed to the voter's next choice. This whole process is repeated until all seats are filled. This method is also called the Hare-Clark system, and its outcome should be proportional to the electorate.
Voters can also vote for members of different political parties on the same ballot, rather than of just one party.
When single transferable vote is used for single-winner elections, it becomes equivalent to instant-runoff voting.
Both methods may be known as ranked-choice voting in the US.
is a ranked voting electoral system
in which the options receive points based on their rank position on each ballot and the option with the most points overall wins.
Plurality, anti-plurality, and Borda count are the three different methods in a positional voting. A candidate will receive a certain number of points based on the voter's ranking.
Borda is a positional system in which ballots are counted by assigning a point value to each place in each voter's ranking of the candidates, and the choice with the largest number of points overall is elected. This method is named after its inventor, French mathematician Jean-Charles de Borda
Instead of selecting a Condorcet winner, this system may select a choice that reflects an average of the preferences of the constituency.
The Borda count does not exhibit independence of irrelevant alternatives
or independence of clones
meaning the outcome it selects is dependent on the other choices present. In large scale elections, the Borda Count is only weakly manipulated by adding candidates, called clones, whose views are similar to the preferred candidate's, but in a small committee election it can more easily manipulated. An example of this strategy can be seen in Kiribati
's 1991 presidential nomination contest.
Path Voting (Schulze Method)
Some examples of RCV elections are shown below. The first table shows the process of RCV and the second demonstrates how Instant Runoff Voting plays a role in these elections. These examples have been taken from Ballotpedia
and represents hypothetical situations to demonstrate a process and clarify a concept.
Raw first-preference vote in political race
Hypothetically speaking, there are four candidates running for a political election, the figure above shows the first preference votes based on each candidate and the accompanied percentages of total votes.
According to the results of the first election, no candidate received an outright majority, with the largest being candidate A with 46.34%. Based on Instant Runoff Election strategy, the candidate with the lowest total votes is to be eliminated, so in this case, candidate D is eliminated. As follows, the first-preference votes for the eliminated candidate are given to voter back-ups. For the sake of the example, assume that of the total 75 votes Candidate D received, Candidate A was listed as their second choice by 50 voters, and Candidate B was listed as a second preference by 25 of the voters.
The second example will demonstrate how the concept of Instant Runoff is used to achieve a winner in a RCV system in the case that a majority is not initially secured.
Adjusted Vote in a political race
According to the figure in example two, Candidate A received 51.22% of the votes among the second tally, therefore, winning the election. The process of Instant runoff as demonstrated above would hypothetically continue until a Candidate receives a majority of the voter population, regardless of the number of recounts it would take.
Pros and Cons of RCV
Advocates of ranked choice voting (instant run-off and single transferable vote) argue that RCV promotes majority support: the voting process continues until the winner is selected using a majority of votes, thus gaining support and favor over a greater majority of people.
Subsequently, RCV provides more choice for voters over candidates they choose, potentially, minimizing tactical voting whereby a voter would support another candidate more strongly than their honest preference, for the purpose to prevent an undesirable outcome.
Candidates that run a negative campaign strategy may see a decline in support as first or second choices. Compared to running primary elections, in order to decrease the number of candidates running for a particular position, a ranked choice voting system may cost less to run due to the requirement of only one election, rather than multiple primaries or run-off elections to narrow down the field.
Critics of a ranked choice voting system argue that the concept is new and a subset of voters dislike change, possibly causing them to dislike the system and not participate. Among other arguments is the fear that the ballots and counting processes will be more expensive and prone to user error. Counting RCV ballots by hand is more complex but can be done quickly with a computerized counting system. While utilizing a computerized counting system, critics of ranked voting argue it is still necessary to hold on to the paper ballots so that election recounts can still be performed, minimizing error and holding a greater validity of results.
Concurrently, new, diverse voices will emerge by providing candidates a starting ground for those with a lack of name recognition. Critics add that previously, it would be difficult for women and people of color to share their voice because of this lack of name recognition that their challengers may have, providing a more equal and fair competition ground for all.
Some critics find that a single-election implementation of ranked voting makes it harder to vet and critique candidates without a primary election that winnows the candidate field.
Uniqueness of votes
If there are a large number of candidates, which is quite common in single transferable vote elections, then it is likely that many preference voting
patterns will be unique to individual voters.
For example, in the 2002 Irish general election
, the electronic votes were published for the Dublin North
There were 12 candidates and almost 44,000 votes cast. The most common pattern (for the three candidates from one party in a particular order) was chosen by only 800 voters, and more than 16,000 patterns were chosen by just one voter each.
In the case common to instant-runoff voting in which no ties are allowed, except for unranked candidates who are tied for last place on a ballot, the number of possible rankings for N candidates is precisely
Use by politics
Federal provinces or states
Years in use
Use outside of politics
The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest
is selected by a positional voting
system. The most recent system was implemented in the 2016 contest, and sees each participating country award two sets of 12, 10, 8–1 points to their 10 favourite songs: one set from their professional jury and the other from tele-voting.
- ^ Riker, William Harrison (1982). Liberalism against populism: a confrontation between the theory of democracy and the theory of social choice. Waveland Pr. pp. 29–30. ISBN 0881333670. OCLC 316034736. Ordinal utility is a measure of preferences in terms of rank orders—that is, first, second, etc. ... Cardinal utility is a measure of preferences on a scale of cardinal numbers, such as the scale from zero to one or the scale from one to ten.
- ^ a b c Toplak, Jurij (2017). "Preferential Voting: Definition and Classification". Lex Localis – Journal of Local Self-Government. 15 (4): 737–761. doi:10.4335/15.4.737-761(2017).
- ^ "Single Transferable Vote". www.electoral-reform.org.uk. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
- ^ "How to conduct an election by the Single Transferable Vote 3rd Edition". www.electoral-reform.org.uk. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
- ^ Toplak, Jurij (2006). "The parliamentary election in Slovenia, October 2004". Electoral Studies. 25 (4): 825–831. doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2005.12.006.
- ^ a b c d Mankiw, Gregory (2012). Principles of Microeconomics (6th ed.). South-Western Cengage Learning. pp. 475–479. ISBN 978-0538453042.
- ^ Hamlin, Aaron (October 6, 2012). "Interview with Dr. Kenneth Arrow". The Center for Election Science. Center for Election Science. CES: you mention that your theorem applies to preferential systems or ranking systems. ... But the system that you're just referring to, Approval Voting, falls within a class called cardinal systems. ... Dr. Arrow: And as I said, that in effect implies more information. ... I’m a little inclined to think that score systems where you categorize in maybe three or four classes probably (in spite of what I said about manipulation) is probably the best.
- ^ "Electoral Systems in Europe: An Overview". Brussels: European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation. October 2000. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
- ^ Farrell, David M.; McAllister, Ian (2004-02-20). "Voter Satisfaction and Electoral Systems: Does Preferential Voting in Candidate-Centered Systems Make A Difference".
- ^ Saari, Donald (1995). Basic Geometry of Voting. Springer. p. 46. ISBN 9783540600640.
- ^ a b c d Grofman, Bernard; Feld, Scott L. (2004). "If you like the alternative vote (a.k.a. the instant runoﬀ), then you ought to know about the Coombs rule" (PDF). Electoral Studies. 23 (4): 641–659. doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2003.08.001.
- ^ FairVote.org. "Ranked Choice Voting / Instant Runoff". FairVote. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
- ^ a b "Ranked-choice voting (RCV)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
- ^ a b c d Bialik, Carl (May 14, 2011). "Latest Issue on the Ballot: How to Hold a Vote". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ "Glossary". ElectionGuide. International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012.
- ^ Affairs, The Department of Internal. "STV Information". www.stv.govt.nz. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
- ^ "Q&A: Electoral reform and proportional representation". BBC. 2010-05-11. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
- ^ Saari, Donald G. (1995). Basic Geometry of Voting. Springer-Verlag. pp. 101–103. ISBN 3-540-60064-7.
- ^ Regenwetter, Michel; Tsetlin, Ilia (2004). "Approval voting and positional voting methods: Inference, relationship, examples". Social Choice and Welfare. 22 (3): 539–566. doi:10.1007/s00355-003-0232-z. ISSN 0176-1714. JSTOR 41106611. S2CID 16226738.
- ^ Reilly, Benjamin (2002). "Social Choice in the South Seas: Electoral Innovation and the Borda Count in the Pacific Island Countries". International Political Science Review, Vol 23, No. 4, 355–72
- ^ "Ranked-choice voting (RCV)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
- ^ Walsh, Matt (2020-10-14). "Walsh '23: The promises and pitfalls of ranked-choice voting". Brown Daily Herald. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
- ^ "Is ranked-choice voting a better way to decide elections?". news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
- ^ Bol, Damien; Verthé, Tom (2019-09-30). "Strategic Voting Versus Sincere Voting". Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.001.0001 (inactive 2021-01-19). Retrieved 2020-12-01.
- ^ "Pros and Cons of Instant Runoff (Ranked Choice) Voting". MyLO. 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
- ^ "In Our View: Ranked-choice voting cons outweigh the pros". The Columbian. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
- ^ "Ranked Choice Voting Can Make Government Look More Like Us". www.wbur.org. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
- ^ Election database February 1, 2004
- ^ Irish Commission on Electronic Voting 2004
- ^ Dublin County Returning Officer complete table of votes cast Dublin North (zip file)
- ^ Wilf, Herbert S. (January 1994) . "Chapter 5: Analytic and asymptotic methods". generatingfunctionology (Second ed.). Academic Press. pp. 175–76. ISBN 0127519564. Retrieved 2006-08-06.
- ^ Sloane, N. J. A. (ed.). "Sequence A007526". The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences. OEIS Foundation.
- ^ "Our electoral system". About Australia. Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. May 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
- ^ Brent, Peter. Short History of Preferential Voting. Mumble Blog, The Australian. April 17, 2011.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Sawer, Marian (2001). Elections: Full, Free & Fair. Federation Press. pp. 93–95. ISBN 978-1862873957.
- ^ "Country Profile: Australia: Learn More". ElectionGuide. International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
- ^ "Liberals vote overwhelmingly in favour of one-member, one-vote". Liberal.ca. 2 May 2009. Archived from the original on 4 May 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
- ^ "Country Profile: Estonia: Learn More". ElectionGuide. International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
- ^ "Section 54: Voting and other matters". Constitution of Fiji. International Constitutional Law Project. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ The fact that Hong Kong began using preferential voting in 1998 can be seen from two sources:
- Minutes from a 1997 LegCo meeting include a proposal to use "preferential elimination voting" for the three smallest functional constituencies. See, "Legislative Council Bill (Minutes) 11 Sept 97". The Legislative Council Commission. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- 1998 is the first year "preferential elimination voting" can be found in the Hong Kong yearbook. See, "The Electoral System: b. Functional Constituency". Hong Kong Yearbook 1998. Government Information Centre of Hong Kong. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- ^ a b "Chapter. 3, Functional Constituencies: The Preferential Elimination System of the 4 SFCs"(PDF). Guidelines on Election-related Activities in respect of the Legislative Council Election. Hong Kong Electoral Affairs Commission. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ "Functional Constituency Elections". 2000 Legislative Council Elections. Hong Kong Electoral Affairs Commission. 2000. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ a b c Farrell, David; Synott, Richard (December 2017). "The electoral system". In Coakley, John; Gallagher, Michael (eds.). Politics in the Republic of Ireland. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-31269-7.
- ^ "Country Profile: Nauru: Learn More". ElectionGuide. International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
- ^ Fraenkel, Jon; Grofman, Bernard (2014-04-03). "The Borda Count and its real-world alternatives: Comparing scoring rules in Nauru and Slovenia". Australian Journal of Political Science. 49 (2): 186–205. doi:10.1080/10361146.2014.900530. S2CID 153325225.
- ^ "STV legislation, background and further information". New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
- ^ a b "STV – It's Simple To Vote". New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs. 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ "Voting systems in Northern Ireland". Electoral Office for Northern Ireland. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
- ^ Blackwell, Eoin (June 20, 2012). "Observers urge peaceful PNG election". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ "Voting". Electoral Commission of Papua New Guinea. 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2012.
- ^ "Article 80: The National Assembly; Composition and Election" (PDF). Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. United Nations Public Administration Network. pp. 47–48. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- ^ "Country Profile: Slovenia: Learn More". ElectionGuide. International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
- ^ "Country Profile: Sri Lanka: Learn More". ElectionGuide. International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
- ^ "Negotiations". Administration and Cost of Elections Project. ACE Electoral Knowledge Network. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
- ^ "Alaska Becomes First In The Nation to Approve Top-4 Primary with Ranked Choice Voting". Independent Voter News. November 17, 2020. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
- ^ Russell, Eric, "Mainers vote to keep ranked-choice voting, with supporters holding commanding lead". Portland Press Herald, June 12, 2018.
- ^ Joyce, Robert, "Instant Runoff Voting". University of North Carolina: School of Government, November 2013.
- ^ "Legislation passes allowing Ontario municipalities to use ranked ballots". The Globe and Mail, June 7, 2016.
- ^ "London, Ont., votes to become first Canadian city to use ranked ballots". CBC News Windsor, May 2, 2017.
- ^ Coyne, Andrew, "Election reform is coming to Canada — somewhere, somehow, and soon". National Post, October 6, 2017.
- ^ "Instant Runoff Voting (IRV): History of Use in Ann Arbor". Green Party of Michigan. 1998. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ Urquhart, Janet (June 28, 2012). "Marks prevails in lawsuit over Aspen election ballots". The Aspen Times. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ a b c "Ranked-Choice Voting". Alameda County Registrar of Voters. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ McCrea, Lynne (March 3, 2010). "Burlington Voters Repeal Instant Runoff Voting". Vermont Public Radio. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
- ^ "Can Once-Maligned Ranked-Choice Voting Make a Comeback in Burlington?".
- ^ "Voters approve all Burlington ballot issues".
- ^ "Choice Voting in Cambridge". FairVote.
- ^ "New Voting Method for November 6, 2007: Hendersonville Pilots Instant Runoff Voting"(PDF). Henderson County Board of Elections. 2007. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ Harbin, John (April 8, 2011). "Hendersonville votes to keep instant runoff ballots". BlueRidgeNow.com. Times-News. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ Joyce, Robert (November 2013). "Instant Runoff Voting". Coates' Canons. Retrieved 2018-07-11. The 2013 General Assembly repealed all legislation authorizing instant runoff elections in North Carolina.
- ^ "London's elections: How the voting works". BBC. May 3, 2000. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ "Voting systems in the UK". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ "Ranked ballots a reality for 1st time in Ontario municipal elections". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
- ^ Gilbert, Curtis (November 2, 2009). "Instant runoff voting FAQ". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ "Ranked Choice Voting | New York City Campaign Finance Board". www.nyccfb.info. Retrieved 2021-02-18.
- ^ Chung, Christine (2021-02-02). "Ranked Choice Voting Takes Backseat in New York City Debut". THE CITY. Retrieved 2021-02-18.
- ^ Poundstone, William (2009). Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (And What We Can Do About It). Macmillan. p. 170. ISBN 978-0809048922.
- ^ Baran, Madeleine (November 7, 2011). "Election Day in St. Paul Tuesday". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ "Ranked Voting Information". Ramsey County. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ "City of Takoma Park Election 2011". City Of Takoma Park. 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ "Instant Runoff Voting Brochure". Town of Telluride. 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- ^ "Country Profile: European Union: Learn More". ElectionGuide. International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
- ^ "Eurovision Song Contest voting system". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
Last edited on 5 May 2021, at 19:15
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.