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What is Choice Voting?

Choice voting refers to the used of ranked choice voting in multi-seat elections. It is an American, candidate-based form of proportional representation that allows like-minded voters to elect candidates in proportion to their share of the vote in multi-member constituencies.

Through choice voting, like-minded groupings of voters win legislative seats in better proportion to their share of the population. Whereas winner-take-all elections award 100% of power to a 50.1% majority, choice voting allows voters in a minority to win a fair share of representation.

Internationally, choice voting is also known as “preference voting”, the “Hare system” and the “single transferable vote.”Choice voting has proven to be an effective tool in electing representative governments, encouraging coalition-building among minority groups and parties, and accommodating voter choice.

Choice voting is FairVote's preferred fair voting system for use in multi-member districts in the United States.

Voters simply rank candidates in order of preference, putting a 1" by their first choice a "2" by their second choice and so on. Voters can rank as few or as many candidates as they wish knowing that a lower choice will never count against the chances of a higher choice.

To win under choice voting, candidates need an exact number of votes called a "threshold". After counting first choices, candidates with the winning threshold are elected. To maximize the number of voters who help elect someone, "surplus" ballots beyond the threshold are transferred to remaining candidates according to voters' next-choice preferences. After transferring surplus ballots until no remaining candidate has obtained the winning threshold, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. All of his/her ballots are distributed among remaining candidates according to voters' next-choice preferences. This process continues until all seats are filled.