Problems solved by Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)

Candidates win without a Majority

Many races in Illinois have more than two candidates and winners can be elected in a crowded field with only 20-30% of the vote. In other words, the majority of voters chose someone other than the winner to represent them. When this happens there isn’t any incentive for a candidate to represent the majority of their constituents when they only need their base to gain and maintain power.

The solution? RCV promotes Majority support.

RCV requires the winning candidate to receive a majority of the vote, meaning at least half of all voters ranked the winning candidate with one of their ranked choices. This ensures the elected official is accountable to a majority of their constituents and is more likely to act on their behalf and be supported while doing so. This is done on one ballot in a single election, so voters do not have to sacrifice a second day to vote in a runoff election.

Divisive Campaigns

On the campaign trail, candidates attack each other over their differences, even when they actually have similar stances on many of the issues. This contrived drama distracts voters from issues they care about and bolsters negative partisanship - “I’m voting against that person” instead of “I’m voting for this person.” 

The solution? RCV encourages cooperation and positivity.

RCV encourages candidates to compete to be voters' 2nd or 3rd choice if they aren’t their top choice. Because candidates are working to appeal to a wider range of voters, they are less likely to attack opponents and be overly negative, highlighting differences while sharing their positive vision and policy ideas.

Strategic Voting 

In elections with multiple candidates, voters often vote for candidates who aren't their preferred choice because they fear the candidate who most aligns with their values and beliefs can't win. Or worse, that voting for their preferred candidate will help a candidate, they don't like, win. In our current system, voting for these “spoiler” candidates instead of a front runner can actually split the vote and help one's least favorite candidate win the election. This builds resentment among Illinois voters and discourages people from becoming actively engaged in politics and the voting process.

The solution? RCV allows you to vote for your preferred candidate without helping your least favorite.

Because RCV allows voters to rank backup options, voters are able to select their most preferred candidate knowing that if that candidate is eliminated, their vote will be applied to their second choice and so on. Thus eliminating the possibility of throwing away your vote or the necessity of voting strategically. 

Less Choice for Voters

In "winner-take-all" elections many quality candidates may not run for fear of splitting the vote from another similar candidate, or be told to "wait their turn," or they may be eliminated before the general election in a low-turnout primary. This reduces the number of potential, high-quality, candidates for voters to choose from, forcing Illinois voters to sometimes choose from candidates they are less than enthusiastic about.

The Solution? RCV allows for more, high-quality candidates to run for office

With RCV, candidates themselves can run without fear of taking away votes from a similar candidate because voters do not have to choose one candidate or the other; they can rank them. This empowers candidates to get involved even if they aren’t backed by PACs or special interest groups. Quality candidates do not have to sit out of an election because they’re no longer running in a winner-take-all system that works against them and their supporters.

Lack of Representation

Elections in Illinois often consist of candidates with similar backgrounds and beliefs or two diametrically opposed candidates with no commonality. This leaves large swaths of the population that don't have representation that is similar to their own backgrounds, beliefs, or demographics.

The Solution? RCV promotes reflective representation

Because RCV opens the door for more candidates to run, it promotes diversity of political viewpoint as well as diversity of background, beliefs, and demographics in candidates. This can increase representation of historically underrepresented groups and populations in Illinois and give a voice to all people.