Ranked Choice Voting by Robert Ezra Stern

This year, Berkeley High will be using Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), a system of voting a that allows you, the voter, to, well, rank candidates in various elections. Here’s everything you need to know about this new system in order to vote come March.


How do I vote?

For each race, you will be given the opportunity to select multiple candidates for office. Just fill out your ballot as you usually would, but now you can choose second-choice and third-choice candidates in races with lots of candidates. Learn more.


If I use my second- and third-choice votes, will that hurt my favorite candidate?

Absolutely not. We will only use your lower-choice votes if every candidate you ranked higher is out of the running. By not marking lower-choice votes, you not only don’t hurt your favorite candidate, you lose your voice if that candidate is eliminated. Learn more.


Why are we using RCV?

Simple! RCV is the system of choice of the cities of Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. Leadership elections are designed to prepare you to vote in real elections, so why shouldn’t they be conducted the same way? Learn more.


What are other benefits of RCV?

RCV has been called “the antidote to negative campaigning”. It consistently produces winners that a vast majority of voters are satisfied with, and always produces a winner backed by a majority of voters. This allows voters to more accurately convey their preferences, instead of voting strategically. Learn more.


How does RCV work?

Slightly less simple! All of the first-choice votes are tallied first. Then the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated. Normally, their voters would not influence the outcome of the election. However, in RCV, voters whose candidate is eliminated have their vote for their next-favorite candidate counted. This process is repeated until a clear winner emerges. Learn more.