Your Guide to Using Ranked Choice Voting


What is Ranked Choice Voting?  
Ranked Choice Voting lets voters rank the candidates in order of preference.

How does Ranked Choice Voting work?

  • Voters rank candidates in the order of their preference: first choice, second choice, third choice, and so on.
  • When all the ballots are counted, if one candidate gets more than 50% of the first choice votes, they win.
  • If no candidate receives more than 50% of first choice votes, the candidate with fewest votes is considered defeated.
  • Voters who ranked the defeated candidate as their first choice have their votes counted for their second choice.
  • This is repeated until only two candidates remain. The one with the most votes wins.

Why should I rank my vote?

  • If your first choice is defeated, your ballot will still count for your next highest choice.
  • You can’t hurt your favorite candidate by also ranking the other candidates. Those choices only count if your first choice is defeated.
  • You can’t help your favorite candidate by ranking only one candidate. Your first choice will always count if your favorite candidate has not been defeated.

How do I avoid mistakes on my ballot?

  • Mark only one oval per row.
  • Mark only one oval per column.
  • Rank as many candidates as you like.
  • You do not need to rank any candidate that you do not support.
  • If you make a mistake, ask the clerk for a new ballot.
  • Ask for help. You won’t be the only one with questions.



ABOVE: In this example, Candidate Two is the 1st choice, and the bubble next to this has been filled in. Candidate One is the 2nd Choice. Candidate Three is the 3rd Choice.

If you are certain of your top choice and only want to vote for Candidate Two, then you only have to fill in the “1st Choice” bubble. You may leave the rest blank.

If you only wanted to rank 2 out of the 3 candidates, then you would fill in the bubbles for “1st Choice” and “2nd Choice” but you may leave “3rd Choice” blank.

                        button for Chinese     button for Vietnamese     button for khmer     button for Haitian Creole



Related links:

More Info on RCV

What's on your ballot?

How to vote in Maine

Map: Absentee Ballot Dropbox Locations