Voter Turnout and Participation

Voter Turnout and Participation Under RCV


When more people vote, our democracy -- and our country -- are stronger. When turnout is high, winners are more likely to reflect the will of the voting public and act on their wishes in government. Ultimately, voters have a greater say in the policies that affect their lives, and our government truly is "of, by, and for the people." This section explores research on the effects of RCV on two key aspects of participation -- voter turnout and voter engagement.


Does RCV increase voter turnout? The intuitive answer would be yes, since RCV allows more votes to “count” in a way that meaningfully impacts the results of the election. This should make participating sound more appealing than under a plurality system, where votes can become “wasted” or “spoiled.” Some research finds that RCV increases turnout while other research suggests it has little or no effect in local U.S. elections. Therefore at the least, RCV does not appear to decrease turnout. More important factors affecting turnout are competitive races on the ballot and elections in even years, according to researchers at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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Voter engagement



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