RCV vs Other Voting Systems – By the Numbers

// Published April 15, 2015

1280px Early voting at Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center

Early Voting in Rockville, MD. Source: Wikimedia Commons. 

FairVote researchers have analyzed official election returns and ballot image data to uncover the rates of spoiled ballots, undervoting and common voting patterns under RCV compared to plurality voting. This research indicates that ballot spoilage rates are as low (or lower) under RCV than under the Top-Two Primary and voters eagerly make use of their ability to rank candidates. 

A brief summary of voter understanding of RCV in California, comparing reported levels of understanding of RCV and the Top-Two Primary, and examining voter error and use of rankings is available here: Voters Understand Ranked Choice Voting: Evidence from Voter Surveys and Official Election Results.

A fact sheet on voter turnout, voter error, rankings and other dynamics of voting in 2014 Bay Area elections is available here: Key Facts about the Use of Ranked Choice Voting in 2014 in California’s Bay Area.

Coming soon is an analysis comparing voter turnout in cities with RCV against those with plurality voting in the California Bay Area. 

Professor David Kimball, at  the University of Missouri-St Louis, is currently examining the different dynamics of voter turnout under RCV and plurality systems. His preliminary findings indicate that RCV does not have a strong impact on voter turnout in November elections or on ballot completion. A short summary of his work can be downloaded here

Professor Kimball's work includes: