RCV Ballot Design

RCV Ballot Design

The most critical piece of voter education in an RCV election is the ballot itself and its instructions.

FairVote's Sample Ballot

Sample Ballot JPG

Download FairVote's sample ballot in pdf here. This sample ballot follows a series of best practices determined by the experience of a number of jurisdictions with various approaches to ranked ballots. They include:

Ballots from Other Jurisdictions

The following ballots demonstrate a good approach to the use of optical scan ballots in RCV elections:

Cambridge, MA: 2001 School Committee

South Carolina: 2006 Republican Primary Overseas Ballot

Portland, ME: 2015 Mayor

Portland, ME: 2011 Mayor
This was Portland's first mayoral election and it attracted a large number of candidates; voters were permitted to rank all candidates.


The following ballots demonstrate approaches taken in other contexts and can be helpful for contrast or when considering special circumstances:

Minneapolis, MN: 2009 Mayor and City Council
Minneapolis was limited in 2009 to three rankings and listing each candidate's name three times due to older voting equipment.

Assumption Parish, LA: 2001 Judicial Election Overseas Ballot
Louisiana in 2001 hand counted RCV ballots for military and overseas voters, so voters ranked by writing numerals rather than filling in ovals.

Wicklow, Ireland: 2002 Dáil Éireann (Irish legislature)
Ireland hand-counts ballots in its multi-winner RCV elections, so voters ranked candidates by writing numerals rather than filling in ovals.

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