How Ranked Choice Voting Works

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It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

Ranked Choice Voting allows voters to rank candidates on the ballot in order of preference: first, second, third, etc. If one candidate receives a majority (more than 50%) of the first-choice votes, they win! If not, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and those votes count instantly towards the next choice on each voter’s ballot. This process repeats in a series of rounds until one candidate has a majority.

Here is a video demonstration of how Ranked Choice Voting works:

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Marking the Ballot

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

For voters, Ranked Choice Voting is simple. Just rank your choices in order of preference. This sample ballot shows a voter who preferred Alice first, Carol second, and Bob third.

Counting the Votes

RCV ballots are counted in a series of rounds, as shown here.

  1. First, all the first-choice votes are counted, and if any candidate has a majority (more than half) the votes, that candidate wins, just like in our elections right now!
  2. Otherwise, the last-place candidate (with the fewest votes) is eliminated. Any votes cast for that candidate are instantly transferred to the next preference indicated on each voter’s ballot (if the voter chose to rank more candidates).
  3. After each round of counting, we check again to see if any candidate has won a majority. If not, step 2 is repeated until one candidate achieves more than 50% of the vote and wins.

I’d like to learn more!

For more specific questions about which offices would be affected by RCV, how RCV compares to other voting methods, more details about how Ranked Choice Voting works, and much more; check out our Frequently Asked Questions section, or read through the full ballot language here:

Here’s how you can help.

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Here’s how you can help.

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More Voice, More Choice.

We need your help to give Massachusetts voters a stronger voice when we cast our ballots, and guarantee that our elected leaders are supported by a true majority.
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More Voice, More Choice.

We need your help to give Massachusetts voters a stronger voice when we cast our ballots, and guarantee that our elected leaders are supported by a true majority.