More complex voting system will lead to smaller voter turn out.

More complex voting system will lead to smaller voter turn out.


When your vote is more likely to count in the way you intend, you are more likely to participate. RCV gives voters the freedom to vote for their true first choice without the fear of a spoiler, and over time may increase voter turnout.

The Kimball and Anthony study shows that, when compared to the primary and runoff elections they replace, RCV general elections are associated with a 10 percent increase in voter turnout.

A 2020 study by Eamon McGinn of the University of Technology Sydney finds that ranked choice voting caused a 9.6 percentage point increase in turnout in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The effect on turnout is higher for precincts with higher poverty rates.

San Francisco had a highly competitive special election for Mayor in June 2018, which was combined with statewide primaries for governor and senator. The ballot in San Francisco included an RCV race for mayor, and non-RCV races for statewide offices.  More San Franciscans participated in the RCV mayoral election (250,868 votes cast for Mayor) than in the non-RCV primaries at the top of the ballot (244,137 for Governor and 237,261 for U.S. Senator), demonstrating that a competitive RCV election can drive turnout. 

FairVote examined turnout in the 6 largest U.S. cities using RCV. Their analysis showed strong turnout in RCV races compared to races before RCV implementation and compared to concurrent races in non-RCV cities.

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