What Is Ranked-Choice Voting? It May Benefit Diverse Candidates

By HANNAH GOLDEN  |  July 11, 2018

On Wednesday, July 11, London Breed was sworn in as mayor of San Francisco, making history as the first black woman to hold the office. The race, though, was not just noteworthy for its outcome; it was also one of relatively few races in the U.S. that employs an alternative voting method. Looking to Breed’s victory, proponents of ranked-choice voting (RCV) argue this election method could be key in helping less traditional candidates like her benefit in races nationwide.

The race to elect an interim mayor was one of several around the country that used RCV, which allows voters to choose more than one candidate. RCV is also employed by select races in a handful of U.S. states, including Colorado, Minnesota, Maryland, and Maine, and on many college campuses. The system is also used internationally in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, and Malta.

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