Ranked Choice Voting Explained Through Desserts
Let’s simplify what ranked choice voting looks like using something that Utahns love, desserts.
So, here is what a ranked choice voting ballot looks like for a “dessert party.”
Let's do an example
For each category, you can rank your choices by filling in the bubble that corresponds to your ranking (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th).
Let’s say that you voted:
- Pecan Pie
- Apple Pie
- Pumpkin Pie
- Blueberry Pie.
Sadly, pecan pie gets the fewest votes. So it is eliminated.
In a normal election, your vote would be spent.
However, with ranked choice voting, your second, third, and fourth choices are included in the next round.
In round 2 your vote will count for apple pie, your second choice.
So without having to vote again, your voice is included in the next round.
Benefits of Rank Choice Voting:
- Fair: RCV ensures makes sure that everyone’s vote counts. When people know that their vote will count, they are more likely to vote. This will lead to more participation in the election rather than relying on only a small portion of the electorate to determine the winner.
- Eliminates the spoiler effect: If a third candidate gets even a small percentage of the vote, they are drawing votes away from another top candidate. By taking a percentage of the top candidate’s vote away, which impacts the final election count. We have seen this in Utah in both the 2017 Mayoral Race as well as the 2016 Presidential Election.
- Civil & Issue Focused Campaigns -- Candidates are encouraged to run more civil campaigns. The opportunity to earn second and third choice votes, encourages them to debate the issues and appeal to a broader spectrum of voters. This generates inclusive leadership because the candidates must appeal to voters who might initially vote for someone else, but may select that candidate as another ranking. Candidates can benefit from cooperation rather than division, especially in multi-seat contests. In cities that have adopted ranked choice voting, voters have commented on the more civil campaigns.
- Save Taxpayer Money -- Runoff elections are costly and inefficient because they split one election into two. This often results in low voter turnout at the second election and a waste of taxpayer money. It also reduces the cost of campaigning because candidates do not have to budget or raise money for a runoff.