Voter Turnout and Participation

Voter Turnout and Participation Under RCV

Greater participation in our democracy is highly desirable so that our government is truly constructed "by the people." This section explores research on the effects of RCV on two key aspects of participation -- voter turnout and voter engagement.

Voter Turnout

By giving voters more meaningful choices and reducing the number of wasted votes, ranked choice voting could increase voter turnout. On the other hand, some argue that RCV could depress turnout because it imposes a greater cognitive burden on voters (ranking rather than indicating a single preference). The answer to this question is still open. Here’s a roundup of available research so far.

McGinn, E. July 2020. Rating Rankings: Effect of Instant Run-off Voting on Participation and Civility.

Juelich, C & Coll, J. June 2021. Ranked Choice Voting and Youth Voter Turnout: The Roles of Campaign Civility and Candidate Contact. 

Find FairVote’s one-page summary here and a working version of the Kimball and Anthony paper below. 

Kimball, D & Anthony, J. October 2016. Voter Participation with Ranked Choice Voting in the United States. in Bay Area Cities With Control Citiesnoborder:none;allowfullscreen62211980


Voter Engagement in the Democratic Process

Smith, Haley. June 2016. Ranked Choice Voting and Participation: Impacts on Deliberative Engagement.



Further reading: 


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