Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - In Google Play
Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - On the App Store
Skip to main content
Tags: ranked-choice voting | pros and cons

Pros and Cons of Ranked-Choice Voting

Pros and Cons of Ranked-Choice Voting
(Satyr/Dreamstime.com, illustration)

By    |   Friday, 03 July 2015 04:19 PM EDT

A growing trend in cities has been using ranked-choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting, for local elections as they weigh the pros and cons of different modes of voting.

Memphis, Tennessee, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, are scheduled to use ranked-choice voting for local elections in the next two years, according to FairVote.

Ranked-choice voting is when electors choose their top three candidates for positions in order of preference. It is done in case no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes. Here are the pros and cons of this voting method.

VOTE NOW: Should Convicted Felons Be Allowed to Vote?


1. No need for expensive runoff elections.
Last year, Alabama had a runoff election for several partisan positions, and it cost the state $3 million, according to The Associated Press. Ranked-choice voting includes a solution to elections that results in no majority winner through an elimination process and having electors select their second- and third-choice candidates.

2. Politicians tend to adopt a more civil tone in campaigns.
According to the Twin Cities Daily Planet, candidates are less likely to use attack ads and bash their competitors when a ranked-choice voting election used. This is partly the result of having more than one competitor, but ranked-choice voting also places emphasis on which candidates are the most liked.

3. Enough with the strategy games.
Advocates argue ranked-choice voting allows voters to elect their favorite candidate no matter the party, according to TwinCities.com. Third parties are less likely to spoil elections with the process of elimination. Electors may be able to worry less about helping their least preferred candidate by choosing their favorite person running.

4. Majority wins.
Proponents of ranked-choice voting argue it is a more democratic process, TwinCities.com reported. Some elections have plurality elections in which the candidate who receives the most votes is the winner, even if they do not obtain a majority. Ranked-choice voting allows the person placed into office to have some sort of support from most of the community that voted.


1. Many cities do not have the proper equipment to count the ballots.
Some voting machines are only programmed to count the number of votes for each candidate and cannot reallocate votes, according to TwinCities.com. This would mean purchasing new voting machines, an additional expense to communities.

2. It’s confusing.
A ticket where electors vote for only one candidate is pretty straightforward. Voting for the same position three times and having to transfer votes complicates the process. Spur noted that in San Francisco, 1.2 percent of ballots in 2011 had errors and could not be counted. This is more errors than normal ballots typically obtain.

TELL US: How Do You Feel About Voting Rights for Convicted Felons?

3. Elections for multiple positions become complex.
While it is possible to perform ranked-choice voting elections when more than one position is up for grabs, it involves setting a threshold for candidates to obtain, complicating the process. Additionally, FairVote reported, candidates reaching the threshold would have their excess votes transferred to voters’ second choices. The website, however, does not describe how excess electors are determined, providing certain voters more of a say in an election by voting for their favorite candidate as well as their second-choice politician.

4. Voters need to know their stuff.
With ranked-choice voting, electors have to be able to list all the candidates in order of their preference. This requires extensive research, especially in less prominent races, something many voters do not take the time to do.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

A growing trend in cities has been using ranked-choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting, for local elections as they weigh the pros and cons of different modes of voting.
ranked-choice voting, pros and cons
Friday, 03 July 2015 04:19 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.

PLEASE NOTE: All information presented on Newsmax.com is for informational purposes only. It is not specific medical advice for any individual. All answers to reader questions are provided for informational purposes only. All information presented on our websites should not be construed as medical consultation or instruction. You should take no action solely on the basis of this publication’s contents. Readers are advised to consult a health professional about any issue regarding their health and well-being. While the information found on our websites is believed to be sensible and accurate based on the author’s best judgment, readers who fail to seek counsel from appropriate health professionals assume risk of any potential ill effects. The opinions expressed in Newsmaxhealth.com and Newsmax.com do not necessarily reflect those of Newsmax Media. Please note that this advice is generic and not specific to any individual. You should consult with your doctor before undertaking any medical or nutritional course of action.


Interest-Based Advertising | Do not sell or share my personal information

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Download the NewsmaxTV App
Get the NewsmaxTV App for iOS Get the NewsmaxTV App for Android Scan QR code to get the NewsmaxTV App
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved