Minneapolis, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Oakland, Portland, New York. These are just a few of the cities where ranked choice voting (RCV) has transformed elections for the better, helping to ensure that voters’ voices are truly heard. Now is the time for Chicago to step up and prove how RCV can transform elections for the rest of America.
How Will RCV Bring Fairness to Chicago Elections?
Instant majority winners
Chicago requires winning candidates to earn a majority of votes. But it currently takes a runoff election to get there. RCV empowers voters to determine a majority winner directly from a multicandidate election without having to go to a runoff. (That’s why RCV is sometimes called “instant runoff voting.”)
More positive campaigns
Candidates need to appeal to a broader coalition of voters to compete for second and third choice votes. It’s been shown that RCV promotes more civil campaigns, avoiding those persistent attack ads we’ve become too used to.
Eliminates "wasted" votes
RCV empowers voters to vote with their hearts and their heads and not worry about “vote-splitting.” By ranking candidates, voters won’t have to choose between candidates they truly believe in and those they think can win.
Promotes diversified candidates
RCV makes it easier for women and candidates of color to run for office and win without the concern of being perceived as “spoiler candidates.” And that will better reflect who we are as a city, with candidates representing diverse backgrounds, demographics and political viewpoints.
When people know their votes have more impact, they are more likely to participate in elections. And RCV avoids the need for runoff elections, which traditionally have very low voter turnout.
Chicago’s 2019 runoff election cost the city $3.36 million. RCV will not only enable Chicago to avoid these costs, it will help candidates develop more accurate budgets since they will know exactly when their campaigns will end.
RCV in Chicago is supported by:
Illinois State Representative
If your group would like to be added to our list of supporters, please fill out this form.
Here's how it works
First, voters fill out a ballot.
Instead of marking one candidate, you rank the candidates in order of preference (1st choice, 2nd choice, and so on).
Next, the votes are counted.
If a candidate has more than 50% of the first choice votes, they win just like any other election. But if no candidate has enough votes to win, we move on to the next step.
The losing candidate is eliminated, and their votes redistributed.
The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and voters who ranked that candidate as their first choice have their votes transferred to their second choice. The votes are then retallied to see if a candidate has earned a majority.
A winner is chosen.
The process repeats until a candidate has enough votes to win. This way, everyone gets a say, and no one feels like their voice wasn't heard.