Where Ranked Choice Voting Is Used


Instant runoff voting (the one-winner form of ranked choice voting) is used on the municipal, state, and national level in governments around the world, as well as by non-governmental organizations and corporations.

In the United States

State and local governments using instant runoff voting as of November 2013 

  • Arkansas (only overseas voters in runoffs): Adopted in 2005 and first used 2006
  • Alabama (only overseas voters): By agreement with a federal court, used in special election for U.S. House, 2013
  • Berkeley, California: Adopted in 2004 and first used 2010 (for mayor, city council and other city offices)
  • Hendersonville, North Carolina  Adopted and used as part of a pilot program in 2007, 2009 and 2011 (mayor and multi-seat variation for city council) and under consideration for future elections
  • Louisiana (only overseas and out-of-state military voters in federal and state runoffs): Adopted and used since the 1990s
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: Adopted in 2006 and first used in 2009 in elections for mayor, city council and several other city offices, including certain multi-seat elections
  • Oakland, California: Adopted in 2006 and first used in 2010 (for a total of 18 city offices, including mayor and city council)
  • Portland, Maine: Adopted in 2010 and first used in 2011 (for electing mayor only)
  • San Francisco, California: Adopted in 2002, first used in 2004 and used every November election since then (for mayor, city attorney,  Board of Supervisors and five additional citywide offices)
  • San Leandro, California: Adopted as option in 2000 charter amendment and first used in 2010 and every two years since  (for mayor and city council)
  • South Carolina (only for overseas voters in federal and state primary runoffs): Adopted and first used in 2006
  • St. Paul, Minnesota: Adopted in 2009, first used in 2011 and to be used every two years (mayor and city council)
  • Springfield, Illinois (for overseas voters only): Adopted in 2007 and first used in 2011 
  • Takoma Park, Maryland: Adopted in 2006 and first used in 2007, with elections every two years and with some special elections in between (for mayor and city council)
  • Telluride, Colorado: Adopted in 2008 and first used in 2011 (for mayoral elections)

Upcoming implementations  

  • Memphis, TN (adopted 2008; scheduled for 2015 for electing city council and other offices)
  • Santa Fe, NM (adopted 2008; scheduled for 2016 for electing mayor city council)

Advisory, Option or Contingent Measure in the United States

  • Ferndale, Michigan (adopted in 2004)
  • Santa Clara County, California (adopted in 1998)
  • Sarasota, Florida (adopted in 2007)
  • Vancouver, Washington (adopted in 1999)


*Ann Arbor (MI), Aspen (CO), Burlington (VT), Cary (NC), New York (NY), Pierce County (WA) and Yonkers (NY) are among cities that have used instant runoff voting since 1900. North Carolina used IRV to fill judicial vacancies in 2010, including one statewide election for Court of Appeals and three county-level elections for Superior Court.

**Cambridge (MA) uses ranked choice voting for its city council elections with the choice voting method of fair representation voting where each of the nine winners needs to earn a little more than 10% of the vote. Voters in Davis (CA) approved an advisory measure in 2006 in favor of this system

In International Governments

  • Australia, to elect its House of Representaives since 1919 and to elect most state and territory lower houses.
  • Bosnia, for certain sub-national elections, since 2000.
  • Bougainville, first used IRV for presidential elections in December 2008.
  • Papua New Guinea, since 2001.
  • The Republic of Ireland, to elect its president since 1922.
  • London, to elect its mayor since 2000 (with voters limited to two rankings) Also, several other UK cities use IRV to elect their mayors.
  • Wellington, New Zealand, to elect its mayor since 2003. Other New Zealand cities use it as well.
  • Malta, to elect its president since 1921.
  • Sri Lanka, to elect its president since 1978.
  • India, indirectly for president and to fill vacancies.
  • Conservative Party in Canada for leadership elections.
  • Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, Canada for leadership elections.
  • Liberal Party of New Zealand (Optional Preferential Voting)
  • Labour Party in the UK for leadership elections.
  • Hong Kong's Legislative Council has 4 functional constituencies that use a preferential elimination system.

In American Organizations and Corporations

Major Associations that Use IRV

Read Rob Richie's Blog Post

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (OscarVotes123.com)

In American Colleges and Universities

Interest in fair elections systems for student elections around the country has been gaining momentum, with about five dozen colleges and universities using IRV as of 2013 for single-winner offices like student body president..