What is RCV?

(Ranked-Choice Voting)


Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) is a simple upgrade to the way we vote. 

RCV functions as an instant runoff. Voters don’t have to pick one candidate, they rank the entire field, in order of preference, without fear that this will hurt the chances of their favorite candidate. 

Your vote stays in play until one candidate wins with a majority — more than 50% — of the vote. If used for New Jersey elections, RCV would bring more voices and choices into our political process and ensure outcomes that more accurately reflect the will of the voters. 


RCV promotes majority support by reducing the "spoiler effect" 

In our current system, candidates can win election despite being the last choice of most voters. RCV guarantees the election of majority winners, whose support extends beyond a narrow base. RCV uses a series of “instant runoffs” to find a winner with a majority of votes in the final round (see our How It Works page for more details).


RCV minimizes strategic voting by encouraging voters to choose their true favorite, without settling

In our current system, if your favorite candidate is unlikely to win, you might cast a “safe” vote for one of the front-runners to avoid electing the candidate you like least,  or you might stick to your principles and vote for your favorite candidate — period. Voters shouldn’t be forced into this lose-lose-dilemma.


RCV decreases toxic polarization by rewarding candidates who reach beyond their base to find common ground with more voters

Voters are tired of negative campaign rhetoric and mud-slinging. With Ranked-Choice Voting, candidates do best when they reach out positively to as many voters as possible, including those supporting their opponents. While candidates must still differentiate themselves to earn 1st-choice support, a campaign that emphasizes negative attacks over positive ideas may lose crucial 2nd and 3rd choices needed to win. 


RCV promotes diverse candidates by encouraging more candidates to run for office without fear of vote-splitting

In our current system, many candidates are pressured to drop out, shamed as “spoilers,” and excluded from public debates. RCV welcomes all candidates into the race, and sometimes simply deciding to run is all that stands in the way of winning. A study of four Bay Area cities with Ranked-Choice Voting found women and people of color are running and winning office more often than they are in cities without RCV.