Ranked-Choice Voting

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is ranked-choice voting? 

Ranked-choice voting (RCV) is an election method that allows voters the option to rank candidates in order of preference (first choice, second choice, third choice, and so on). Ranking candidates is different from simply selecting one candidate or what is known as plurality voting. (source: https://www.rcvresources.org/what-is-rcv)

2. How does ranked-choice voting work? 

If a candidate receives more than half of the first choices, that candidate wins, just like in any other election. However, if there is no majority winner after counting the first choices, the race is decided by an instant runoff. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and voters who ranked that candidate as their first choice will have their votes count for their next choice. This process continues until a majority winner, or a candidate won, with more than half of the vote. Ranked-choice voting works equally well when there are multiple seats to fill. The threshold for winning is adjusted depending on the number of seats to fill. A similar process of eliminating and electing candidates through rounds of counting occurs until all the seats are filled. (source: https://www.rcvresources.org/what-is-rcv

3. Do I have to rank candidates? Can I just choose one? 

No, you may rank as few candidates as you like. You may choose just one candidate on the form. 

4. Will every office on the ballot - federal, state, and local - be by ranked-choice vote? 

No, ranked choice voting in the June primaries will only be for Arlington County Board candidates. 

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