I heard RCV disenfranchises communities of color and less affluent voters. Is this true?

No. An independent study performed by St. Cloud State University in 2009 reported that 95% of Minneapolis voters found ranked choice voting easy to use; and 97% of voters of color found using a Ranked Choice ballot simple. There is simply no evidence to support the claim that minority voters felt disenfranchised after using Ranked Choice Voting.
 
More recently, in the 2013 citywide mayoral RCV election in Minneapolis, exit polling by Edison Research showed that a whopping 85% of voters found RCV simple to use, including 82% of people of color. Additionally, 88% of voters ranked their ballots and more than two-thirds were familiar with RCV before going to the polls. The effective ballot rate was 99.95%, meaning that virtually every voter filled out his or her ballot correctly and had their vote counted.
 
In contrast, RCV has been shown to enfranchise communities of color by eliminating low-turnout primary elections – which are attended by disproportionately older, whiter, and more affluent voters than the general election. For example, in 2005 (before RCV was enacted), general election turnout was nearly three times greater than primary turnout (8 percent compared to 21 percent) in Ward 5 –  which is predominantly people of color – compared to two times greater for the city overall (15 percent to 30 percent). RCV mitigates this inequity by holding one election in November, when turnout is higher and more diverse. And in San Francisco, where RCV has been in use for several years, effective voter participation has increased as high as 300 percent in traditionally low-turnout precincts.

Become a Volunteer

Volunteer

Contribute and help us

Build a better democracy

Join the Movement

Join the Movement