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Statewide ranked choice voting group to meet in Charlotte Saturday

What is ranked choice voting? Here's the breakdown.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Saturday, Better Ballot North Carolina is holding its statewide gathering in Charlotte to discuss the benefits of bringing ranked choice voting to North Carolina. This is the organization's first in-person event since they were founded in 2020.

Better Ballot North Carolina is a non-partisan, politically diverse nonprofit that seeks to inform and influence the NC electorate about ranked voting and electoral reform. 

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What is ranked choice voting?

As opposed to a single-choice voting system, as used in most North Carolina elections, voters choose a single candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins the elections. This system is also called "first past the post."  

In some single-choice voting systems, there are runoff elections if the electoral rules require a candidate to win a majority (50% +1) of votes.

In ranked choice voting (also referred to as RCV), voters rank multiple candidates in order of preference. Voters do not choose one candidate but rank them on the ballot. 

The candidate that receives a majority of the first-choice votes is the winner. If there is no candidate that receives a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is dropped from the ballot. 

This process repeats until a candidate receives a majority.

Credit: AP
FILE - This absentee ballot for the 2020 Maine general election, photographed on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020 in Falmouth, Maine, shows how Maine voters are allowed to rank presidential and senate candidates in order of ranked choice preference. An electoral reform that has taken root in the iconoclastic states of Maine and Alaska could be gaining traction nationwide. After decades of theoretical discussions among policy wonks, advocates of ranked-choice voting are looking to expand the concept. (AP Photo/David Sharp)

Advocates for ranked choice voting argue that ranked choice gives voters more choice and forces candidates to appeal to a larger electorate, resulting in more compromise. 

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Where is ranked choice voting used?

Ranked voting is not a new concept and has been used around the world for some time. Australia, Ireland and India all use ranked choice in national or local elections. 

In the U.S., many states use ranked choice in local or primary elections. On the statewide level, Alaska adopted ranked choice in 2020 for all state and federal general elections. It was first used in the 2022 election. 

Ranked choice is also used in Maine for state and federal primaries and all general congressional elections. It was adopted in 2016 and first used in 2018. 

In 2022, Nevada voters approved a ballot measure to change its electoral system to ranked choice voting on the statewide level. It must be approved again in 2024 in order to take effect.

For a comprehensive list of all local jurisdictions using ranked choice voting in the U.S., click here.

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Better Ballot North Carolina's event is Saturday, June 3 at 2:30 p.m. in the community room of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Boulevard Branch. It is open to the public. To attend the event, register here

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