Myth: Ranked choice voting disadvantages voters

Answer

Fact: Ranked Choice Voting empowers voters to vote for the candidate they support most and eliminates low-turnout primary or run-off elections.

When we look at our current voting system, it is rather common for people to say things like “what is the point in voting third party?” or “voting third party is a wasted vote.” Many people who vote are voting for the candidate who they see as the most strategic to vote for, not who they favor or prefer or identify the most with, but who they think has the best chance of winning. This is a result of the ‘first-past-the-post’ system that is common in America where you only need a plurality (more votes than other candidates but less than a 51% majority) to win, rather than a majority of support from voters. Being forced to vote strategically for who you suspect will win, rather than for your true first choice, is a very obvious disadvantage to voters today.

Ranked Choice Voting removes this hurdle experienced by millions of Americans who want to be able to vote for the candidate they prefer, rather than one of two choices who they do not like at all. RCV gives third party candidates and parties with differing viewpoints the chance to share with voters their positions and actually get votes. With RCV there is no need to use a ‘strategic vote’ rather than a ‘preference vote’. RCV also mitigates the issue of low turnout elections such as primaries or run-off elections, which are primarily attended by older, less diverse, and more affluent voters and often lead to candidates that might not represent the greater voting base[3].