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What If Voters Don't Rank All the Candidates?: Inactive Ballots in Single-Choice vs. Instant Runoff Voting

November 13, 2023

● Instant runoff voting (IRV) is a form of ranked choice voting that, after voters rank candidates in order of preference, eliminates candidates who have the least top-choice support. Votes that do not help voters' top choices will count for their next choice. The process repeats until a single candidate remains.● Single-choice voting (also known as plurality voting) only allows each voter to choose one candidate.● Inactive ballots are any ballots that do not contribute to the outcome between the final two candidates. They constitute a small percentage of all ballots in IRV elections.● Inactive ballots arise in nearly every election method, but IRV results in fewer ballots becoming inactive than single-choice voting. This is demonstrated by real-world examples from Maine, New York City, San Francisco, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming. 

2022 Ranked Choice Voting Year in Review

January 6, 2023

This report provides an overview of ranked choice voting (RCV) in 2022, highlighting RCV election results and adoptions, with special attention to developments in Alaska and Virginia.