Ranked Choice Voting and Representation

Different voting systems impact representation in government in terms of  ideology, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, experiences, interests and other characteristics. This page explores research into how different groups are represented under RCV versus other American election systems. 

Research shows that RCV improves representation for women, people of color, and other groups.

Representation for women and people of color



Representation for political viewpoints

More than one-third (35%) of voters are Independents, yet they have little influence in government because it is difficult for Independent candidates to get elected under plurality voting rules. RCV can improve their representation at the state and federal levels of government, allowing supporters of Independent and third-party candidates to rank their preferred candidate first without “wasting” their votes or  “spoiling” the election outcome. 

The theory and scholarship behind how RCV (particularly the single-winner version) can otherwise impact ideological representation is mixed. At worst, the effect is neutral. 

Related research:


Multi-winner RCV enables voters who live in districts dominated by an  opposing party to gain representation. As long as the Democratic or Republican population is equal to or greater than the threshold needed to win, people who hold minority views can gain representation.




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