Ranked Choice Voting is a method of voting where instead of choosing just one candidate, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If a single candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, then they are declared the winner.
However, if no candidate receives a majority, an automated instant runoff is initiated and the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and their votes are redistributed behind the scenes based on the voters’ second choices.
If those voters did not specify a second choice, their votes are thrown out.
This process continues until one candidate has a majority of the remaining votes and is declared the winner. After the initial ballot is cast, the voter has no input in the process, regardless of how many instant runoff rounds occur. There is no concept of a traditional runoff election where voters can make new choices based on the new field of top candidates.
Proponents claim Ranked Choice Voting allows voters to express their preferences for multiple candidates and ensures that the ultimate winner is the candidate with the most overall support rather than just the one with the most first-choice votes. While this may sound nice in theory, in practice, it’s a scheme allowing candidates with a minority of voter support to win through mathematical technicalities.