Posted on May 12, 2021
A new report from FairVote examines the ways in which communities of color benefit from ranked choice voting. Key findings include:
Candidates of color benefit from the round-by-round counting process. Winning candidates of color, particularly those who are Black or Hispanic/Latino, grew their vote totals between the first and final ballot rounds at a higher rate than winning White candidates.
Voters of color tend to rank more candidates than White voters. In precincts with more voters of color, voters rank a higher percentage of candidates, indicating a willingness among communities of color to engage with the ranked ballot.
Candidates of color see the strongest gains in districts with a majority of voters of color, including districts where the largest single bloc of voters is White. This suggests that candidates of color are effectively earning votes outside of their own racial and ethnic groups and building broad support across their districts.
Candidates pay no penalty when they run against opponents of the same race or ethnicity. Black candidates are more likely than other candidates to challenge people of the same race or ethnicity, but under RCV they don’t pay a penalty for doing so. Instead of dividing community support, Black candidates who run against other Black candidates in RCV elections have a higher win rate. Candidates of other racial or ethnic backgrounds also experienced an increased win rate when they ran against candidates of the same racial or ethnic background.