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How Ranked-Choice Voting Could Change the Way Democracy Works

Kate Stewart  | Published on 6/26/2021

When New York voters cast their ballots in the city’s primary elections this year, they’ll have the option of ranking five candidates instead of choosing just one. It’s called ranked-choice voting, and its advocates say it promises to improve democracy as we know it.

In a traditional voting system, voters select just one candidate. With ranked-choice voting, they rank candidates in order of preference. With a traditional ballot, all the votes are added up, and the candidate with the most votes wins, even if that candidate did not win a majority of votes. (This system is sometimes called “plurality voting.”)

With the ranked-choice ballot, if none of the candidates receives a majority of first-choice votes, the last-place candidate is eliminated, and her votes are distributed to her voters’ second-choice candidates. The process repeats until one of the candidates collects more than half the votes.

Ranked-choice voting is more complicated — and possibly more confusing — than plurality voting, so why bother?

Read the full article in the Washington Post.

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