What is Proportional RCV?

Proportional ranked choice voting is a way of electing a legislative body - like a city council, state legislature, or national Congress - that promotes majority rule and fair representation for all voters. Fair representation means that nearly all voters will help elect a candidate they support, and that different groups of voters will elect winners in proportion to their share of the votes cast. 

CCD_Grid.jpgTo vote, a voter chooses their favorite candidate just like they do now. Additionally, they may rank as many or as few other candidates as they want to. Voters can honestly rank their favorite candidate first, their second-favorite candidate second, and so on, without needing to think tactically about who is most "electable" or whether their vote will be "wasted." Ranking a back-up choice can never hurt the chances of a voter's favorite candidate winning, so there is no reason for a voter to "bullet vote" for only one candidate.

Under proportional ranked choice voting, more than one candidate wins. Elections are jurisdiction-wide or in multi-winner districts. That way, elections are not a zero-sum game in which only one group of voters can elect a winner that supports their interests and ideals. The way votes are counted ensures that every sufficiently numerous group of voters will elect winners in proportion to their share of the votes. The majority will elect a majority of seats, but not all of the seats.

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Because the share of votes determines who wins, and not the district lines, proportional ranked choice voting makes gerrymandering all but impossible. Large legislative bodies can elect from multi-winner districts - districts that each elect multiple winners - and the overall results of the election will not change much based on the particular district map adopted. Smaller legislative bodies or state delegations can be chosen without any districts at all.

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Proportional ranked choice voting ends winner-take-all politics. When a diverse group of candidates win, each representing distinct groups of voters, there is no such thing as a "red" or "blue" district. All across the United States, there are conservative voters in majority-Democratic communities, and progressive voters in majority-Republican communities. Instead of being shut out, these voices will earn their fair share of representation. That means there would be rural Democrats and urban Republicans elected, with incentives to reach across the aisle and build coalitions for policies with genuine majority support.

Likewise, under proportional ranked choice voting, representation will be more accessible for racial and ethnic minority groups. In cities, groups like renters and working class families will have stronger voices. Research shows that women will win election at higher rates in multi-winner districts.

Proportional ranked choice voting has the potential to truly transform our winner-take-all politics into a more inclusive and deliberative politics that respects and empowers all voices. It’s how we make our democracy work -- for everyone.

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