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Among Alternative Voting Systems, RCV is Best


We at FairVote Minnesota are sometimes asked about other alternative voting systems: How did we arrive at Ranked Choice Voting? Why not Condorcet or range voting or approval voting?

No voting system is perfect. But Ranked Choice Voting is, for myriad reasons, a vast improvement over the outmoded plurality system. And unlike the other alternatives, its also a proven system. Its been implemented and used with tremendous success in cities across the U.S. and countries around the globe, including Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro and San Francisco in California; Portland, Maine; Takoma Park, Maryland; Australia, Ireland, Sri Lanka, London; and of course, both Minneapolis and St. Paul. In fact, the drive to adopt RCV in Minneapolis gathered steam after the Minnesota League of Women Voters conducted an extensive study of alternative voting systemsand ultimately recommended Ranked Choice Voting. (RCV is also used by dozens of colleges and universities, including Cornell, Duke and the University of Minnesota; and by legions of institutions and organizations, from Mensa to the American Political Science Association to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.). Click here for a review of different voting systems.

RCV has been tested exhaustively on the groundand its been shown time and again to foster greater choice, broader participation, more civil campaigns and more accountable representation. As New Yorker editor Hendrik Hertzberg wrote a few years ago, the real world, where voting actually occurs, is where [Ranked Choice Voting] has proved its mettle. In that world, approval and range voting have never managed to achieve anything approaching liftoff. [RCV] is all over the place, from Sydney to San Francisco to (soon, I hope) London, and for good reasonsreasons that have more to do with political behavior and human intuition than with mathematical purity. . . .What Churchill said of democracy in general can be said of [RCV] in particular: its the worst systemexcept for all the others.

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