Ranked choice voting in major elections

Ranked choice voting (RCV, or instant runoff) accommodates voters having more than two choices at the polls. This month, San Francisco (CA) will elect a mayor and two other citywide leaders with RCV. Portland (ME) and Telluride (CO) will elect mayors in hotly contested RCV races, and St. Paul (MN) and Takoma Park (MD) will elect city councilors with RCV. In Ireland, Michael Higgins was elected president with RCV, breaking out of a 7-candidate field for a landslide win thanks to a combination of strong first choice rankings and backup preferences from supporters of losing candidates. Cambridge (MA) will use the choice voting form of RCV that provides fair representation to its voters.

FairVote has been deeply involved in many of these implementations and will be tracking elections closely next week. Although controversial with some, RCV is working well -- and has strong backing from almost all mayoral candidates in both Portland and San Francisco. For more on the races, see: