How We Vote

Ranked-Choice Voting

Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV), also known as Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) or the Alternative Vote (AV), is a single-winner majoritarian method of voting in which voters rank candidates on the ballot according to preference instead of choosing only one.  If any candidate receives over 50% of the first place votes then that candidate wins.  If no candidate reaches the 50% threshold then a runoff round occurs which eliminates the candidate with fewest first-place votes and reallocates their voters to whichever candidate each voter preferred next.  This process of elimination and redistribution repeats until a candidate reaches the 50% threshold or only two candidates are left, and the candidate with the most votes wins.  This method is currently used by several major cities around the US as well as the countries of Ireland and Australia.

STAR Voting

Score Then Automatic Runoff (STAR) voting is a relatively new voting system that allows voters to score candidates much like they would rate a book or a movie.  Like other alternative voting systems, it removes the spoiler effect, allowing voters to be honest in their choices without worrying about inadvertently helping their least favorite candidate.  It combines the benefits of Ranked-Choice Voting and Approval Voting while avoiding the flaws of both.  Voters score each candidate from 0 to 5 with any blank score defaulting to zero.  All scores are summed for each candidate, and the two candidates with the highest scores advance to a runoff round.  In the runoff, the candidate who has the most voters preferring them wins.  

Approval Voting

Approval Voting is a system where voters can simply vote for more than one candidate in a race.  Like RCV and STAR, it removes the spoiler effect, and allows people to vote honestly.  Unlike RCV and STAR, it requires almost no changes to ballots or tabulation technology.  While this system is a bit less expressive than STAR voting, it is the 95% solution that would be logistically the most simple to implement and explain to voters.