What is Rank the Vote?

Rank the Vote is a non-partisan, 501c3 non-profit organization formed to empower people across America to rapidly build grassroots movements for Ranked Choice Voting in their own states, enabling successful ballot or legislative campaigns.

Rank the Vote was founded by veteran activists who ignited movements for Ranked Choice Voting. We've succeeded despite starting with no staff and no money.

Why Rank the Vote?

People are fed up with unresponsive, gridlocked government dominated by powerful special interests.

Bold grassroots leaders across the country are rising up to solve the source of the problem -- our flawed election system.

Ranked Choice Voting is a simple fix to these problems.

Instead of picking just one candidate, you can rank as many as you like on your ballot, in order of preference 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc...

“This is my favorite, my first choice,

but if they can’t win, don't throw my vote away,

count it for my second choice...” and so on.

You can always vote for the candidate you are enthusiastic about without fear of wasting your vote -- you have backup choices if your favorite can't win. Your top choice is never harmed by ranking additional choices.

Can we really change how we vote?

Absolutely! Our methods are simple and time-tested: organize and educate regular voters so they can spread the word and take effective actions to achieve this common sense improvement to our elections.

To do this we offer these valuable resources: 

  1. A proven playbook of strategies, tactics, and priorities to ensure success
  2. Coaching and consultation
  3. Pathways to funding

Experience has shown that this basic assistance we provide can enable a small but dedicated group to rapidly grow into a powerful statewide wave of change demanding to Rank the Vote.

What's wrong with our elections?

Our current "pick-one" plurality election system...

Punishes voters with "wasting their vote" if they choose their actual favorite and don't use their ballot to support a "front-runner" candidate or one from the two major parties.

Let's unpopular politicians win by allowing candidates to be elected even when the majority of voters oppose them.

Makes elections toxic by incentivizing candidates to beat down their opponents and exaggerate differences, missing opportunities to reinforce areas of agreement that unify the electorate and create consensus for getting important things done after the election.

Is fragile and vulnerable to manipulation and broken, inaccurate outcomes as soon as more than two candidates run. This is because of "vote splitting" and the "spoiler effect". Two or more candidates or parties running on similar platforms penalize each other and divide their shared base of supporters, rather than reinforcing their mutual efforts.

Limits participation by discouraging new candidates from running and new parties from forming.

The results are catastrophic...

Denial of choice to voters, breeding disinterest and cynicism.

Poisoning of political culture and magnification of partisan division.

Gridlock around big problems rather than common purpose taking action.

Erosion of competition, innovation, and problem solving in elections and government.

Government of the powerful, not of the people.

How does RCV help?

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is the reform that is rescuing America. RCV offers transformative benefits...

Every vote counts and you can always vote for your favorite knowing your vote will never be wasted.

Fresh candidates can run without fear of being treated like a "spoiler".

New parties can form and share their unique and valuable perspectives without fear of undermining their own goals by splitting votes and diluting electoral power with the most similar major party.

Strong independents can participate holding their heads high without dealing with unfair accusations of interference or irrelevance.

Problem solving orientation where everyone running has a real reason to emphasize areas of common agreement as well as what makes them the best choice. Candidates tend to focus on issues and treat rivals with more respect.

The will of the people prevails because the majority of voters always determines the winner from a full and robust set of choices.

How are votes counted?

Ballots are counted in "instant runoff rounds" -- see this video explainer -- where contestants receiving the fewest top-choices are eliminated and their supporters' ballots are then counted toward the next choice indicated on each.

This process "consolidates" the voting power of like-minded voters, no matter how many candidates are running, rather than seeing the strength of their votes diluted and divided between multiple similar candidates.

Here's the part that solves the "spoiler candidate" problem:

These rounds repeat until one candidate has the support of more than half of the voters. Because winning requires a broad majority of support, candidates need to earn their opponents' supporters 2nd and 3rd choice votes on the ballot.

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is a simple but powerful solution that gives people a stronger voice and more choice when they vote.

Where is RCV used?

Ranked Choice Voting is now spreading rapidly and used in some form in 26 states. Maine has led the way and now uses RCV for almost every major state and federal office. Recent RCV wins include Alaska & New York City.

Elsewhere in the world, Ireland and Australia have used RCV for over a hundred years!

Does Rank The Vote work with FairVote?

FairVote and Rank the Vote share the same goals -- seeing ranked choice voting adopted for all types of elections across the US.  FairVote works towards this primarily through leadership around policy, messaging, research, technical, legal, and lobbying support for activists, campaigns, other non-profit organizations, and government officials. Rank the Vote focuses on training and supporting activists so that they can educate people and build grassroots movements for ranked choice voting in their own states.
Rank the Vote's leaders have a history of working closely with Fair Vote and we are excited to continue strengthening our partnership this year. There is a group of organizations including Fair Vote, Represent.Us, and Unite America that are working closely together on RCV and that type of cooperation was instrumental in winning RCV for Alaska in November 2020.