Welcome to Better Ballot KC!
We are a group of Kansas City voters wanting to bring Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) to Kansas City. RCV (also known as Instant Runoff Voting, or IRV) is a system of voting that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference (i.e. first, second, third, fourth and so on). The voters' preferences are counted until a candidate emerges with a true majority of the vote: over 50%. Voters can rank as many or as few candidates as they wish, but can vote without fear that ranking less-favored candidates will harm the chances of their most preferred candidates. In elections today at almost every level, candidates only have to receive more votes than the other candidates to win - often earning a very small percentage of the actual vote - which ignores the true preferences of most of the voters.
We believe Kansas City needs RCV for 3 main reasons:
- RCV saves money. over $500,000 per election cycle according to local election authorities.
- RCV provides more choice. Voters have a reason to listen to EVERY candidate because even degrees of preference count. And candidates have a reason to run smarter campaigns focused on real issues and dialogue. Less negative campaigning, more talk of the issues that matter. As a result, RCV can create a higher voter turnout.
- RCV removes the spoiler effect. The "spoiler effect" is the by-product of our current plurality-based voting system, in which a candidate only has to receive a plurality of the votes - that is, most of the votes cast out of all the candidates running - instead of a true majority (over 50%). RCV removes the "spoiler effect" from elections by requiring candidates to receive a true majority of the votes cast in order to win.
For more information on Ranked Choice Voting, visit www.fairvote.org.
A Deeper Explanation
The voter ranks their choice in order of preference on the ballot. The voter can rank as many or as few candidates as they wish. First choices are tabulated, and if a candidate receives a majority of first choices, he or she is elected. If no candidate receives a clear majority of votes on the first count, a series of runoffs are simulated, using each voter’s preferences indicated on the ballot. The candidate who received the fewest first place choices is eliminated. All ballots are then retabulated, with each ballot counting as one vote for each voter's highest ranked candidate who has not been eliminated. Specifically, voters who chose the now-eliminated candidate will now have their ballots counted for their second ranked candidate -- just as if they were voting in a traditional two-round runoff election -- but all other voters get to continue supporting their top candidate. The weakest candidates are successively eliminated and their voters' ballots are redistributed to next choices until a candidate crosses a majority of votes.