States and localities that have recently seen legislation proposed to make a switch to ranked choice voting include Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, the city of Baltimore, and at least four cities in Utah. Less known is the success ranked-choice voting has seen on college campuses across the country. From Fair Vote:
College campuses feature prominently among the growing ranks of institutions embracing ranked choice voting (RCV), with UT-Austin becoming one of the latest universities to adopt an RCV measure for its campus-wide elections.
According to an article from The Daily Texan, UT-Austin will use a form of ranked choice voting in which multiple candidates win seats in the same race – known in the U.K. and Australia as ‘single transferable vote.’ Under this system, students rank their preferred candidates, just like a standard ranked choice voting election. Similarly, backup choices come into play if not enough candidates earn enough first choices. The difference is that multiple candidates win, each with their own smaller share of the vote.
Fair Vote has the full article. So what is ranked choice voting? According to Democracy Chronicles’ friends at at the nonpartisan nonprofit FairVote, headquartered in Takoma Park, Maryland:
Ranked choice voting (RCV) makes democracy more fair and functional. It works in a variety of contexts. It is a simple change that can have a big impact. With ranked choice voting, voters can rank as many candidates as they want in order of choice. Candidates do best when they attract a strong core of first-choice support while also reaching out for second and even third choices.
When used as an “instant runoff” to elect a single candidate like a mayor or a governor, RCV helps elect a candidate that better reflects the support of a majority of voters. When used as a form of fair representation voting to elect more than one candidate like a city council, state legislature or even Congress, RCV helps to more fairly represent the full spectrum of voters.
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