What is ranked-choice voting and where is it used?

What is ranked-choice voting and where is it used?

June 10, 2021

RANKED-CHOICE Voting has entered the national spotlight thanks to the heat-up of the NYC mayoral race.

But NYC isn't the only place that uses this unique voting system.

What is ranked-choice voting and where is it used?

Ranked-choice voting is a little bit different than what Americans, in particular, are used to with voting.

Here's how it works: New York City determines the winner of an election based on preference.

This preference includes a voter putting down the first choice, second choice, third choice, and so on for the winner.

The candidate with 50 percent or more of the first-choice vote is the winner.

On Tuesday, November 3, 2020, New York City announced that it was going to use the ranked-choice voting system to determine the winner of its mayoral race.

Maine is another state that practices ranked-choice voting.

This practice is also done in countries like Australia and New Zealand.

How do the NYC mayoral candidates feel about ranked-choice voting?

Most of the NYC mayoral candidates like ranked-choice voting.

Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate, feels it's a great thing.

"It could help prevent evermore polarized election campaigns, increase the number of women and minority candidates running for office, and reduce negative campaigning," he said.

Larry Diamond, the former director of Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, also says that ranked-choice voting is a positive thing.

"We are really settling on ranked-choice voting as the most promising reform to democratize and depolarize our politics," he said.

What do critics of ranked-choice voting say?

Ranked-choice voting critics say that it could make voting more complicated for voters.

“Our belief is that Maine voters do not know how to maximize their influence in ranked-choice elections by ranking all the candidates, which is compounded when political parties tell voters to rank only one candidate,” said Matthew Gagnon, CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center.

They also say it could make it easier for candidates to "game" the system.

Critics of ranked-choice voting also say that it will change the way American presidential candidates are voted into office.

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