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Ranked choice voting (RCV) had its biggest Election Day ever:

  • At least six cities, counties, and states home to one million people voted to adopt RCV. A ballot measure to implement RCV in Nevada is currently leading, while a ballot measure to implement RCV in Seattle is currently neck-and-neck.

  • RCV was successfully used in 12 cities and states home to nearly four million people, including for all of Alaska’s federal and state elections and Maine’s federal elections.

Ranked choice voting is the fastest-growing nonpartisan voting reform in the nation; with yesterday’s ballot wins, it is now reaching a total of 61 jurisdictions with 15 million people.

“Ranked choice voting this week again showed why it’s the fastest-growing, nonpartisan voting reform in the country,” said Rob Richie, President and CEO of FairVote, a nonpartisan organization seeking better elections for all. “Voters are embracing it from Portland to Portland and New York to Nome, for better choices, better campaigns, and better representation. Everywhere it’s used, voters say they understand and like it – whether in blue, red, or swing parts of the country. Now it’s onto results in major RCV elections in Alaska and Maine, though most cities using RCV nationwide release results within 24 hours of the election.”

Ballot Measures

  • Ranked choice voting continues to grow across the nation, moving from just 10 cities to at least 61 jurisdictions since 2016 (including the states of Alaska and Maine).

  • At least six places voted to adopt RCV on Tuesday, including Portland, OR; Multnomah County, OR; Fort Collins, CO; Evanston, IL; Portland, ME; and Ojai, CA.

  • Portland, Oregon voted to become the largest city to use the proportional, multi-member form of RCV – the “gold standard” election system that can lower the temperature on our toxic politics, while ensuring real competition and representation for every voter. Earlier this year, 200 scholars suggested the U.S. should use this type of system to elect our House of Representatives.

  • Seattle voters negotiated a two-step ballot measure, where a nearly three-to-one margin supported ranked choice voting over approval voting, but it’s a tossup about whether to support a change to the city’s current elections system.

Ranked Choice Voting in Action

  • RCV was used in six states – Alaska, Maine, and in city elections in Delaware, California, Maryland, and Oregon. Major cities with RCV elections included both San Francisco and Oakland, California.

  • RCV was used for the first time in races for Alaska’s U.S. Senator, governor, and State Legislature. It was also used for the first time in three cities in California and Oregon (Albany, CA; Palm Desert, CA; Corvallis, OR).

  • A FairVote/SurveyUSA poll of Maine suggests Jared Golden has the edge in Maine’s 2nd congressional district, while Mary Peltola, Lisa Murkowski, and Mike Dunleavy are favored in U.S. House, Senate, and governor races in Alaska.

What’s Next

  • Cities in California have already reported their preliminary RCV results, with most other RCV locations except Alaska and Maine due to report results by today. The actual ranked choice tabulation takes just seconds.

  • Election administrators in Alaska and Maine depart from this norm for reasons specific to their states. We expect Maine to release its RCV results next week, and Alaska to release its RCV results via livestream on November 23. This interactive tool allows users to project the RCV results in the competitive race for Maine’s 2nd congressional district, and this interactive display includes preliminary, 1st-choice results from Alaska’s RCV races.


  • For the second cycle in a row, control of the U.S. Senate may be decided by an expensive, month-long, lower-turnout runoff election in Georgia. In contrast, RCV in Alaska, Maine, and other places offers an “instant runoff” that doesn’t require voters returning to the polls. The use of RCV would remove the need for separate runoffs – in fact, military and overseas voters in Georgia and five other Southern states already use ranked ballots in the event of a runoff. Rather than vote a second time, these voters return a ranked ballot; in case of a runoff, their vote is counted for their highest-ranked candidate in the runoff.


FairVote is a nonpartisan organization seeking better elections for all. We research and advance voting reforms that make democracy more functional and representative for every American.

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