Ranked-choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting, is a liberal-favored, undemocratic voting system that allows for voters to rank their preferences of candidates on ballots rather than require they choose only one. As with such, the top picks on ballots will be counted for respective candidates initially; if no one gets a majority of the votes cast in the first round, the top two proceed, while the votes for the rest of the candidates are one-by-one defaulted to whichever one of the top two that was marked at a higher preference, if signified.
There are three major variants of this method:
- Optional Preferential, where a voter may rank as many (or as few) candidates as desired. For example, if there are five candidates for a position, the voter may rank all five, or only four, three, two, or even only one candidate.
- Partial Preferential, where a voter can only rank a maximum which is fewer than the number of candidates, but can still rank fewer. For example, a ballot may permit a voter to rank only his/her top three choices out of five. But the voter can rank three, only two, or even only one.
- Full Preferential, where a voter must rank all candidates shown, else the ballot is invalid.
The major issue with ranked-choice voting deals with unfair bias against third-party candidates, which indirectly ensures a two-party system; since voters are given the option to rank their candidates in order of preference, for those who rank a third-party candidate as their top choice and either the Democrat or Republican nominee as their second pick, it becomes nearly guaranteed that their vote will go to the latter if no candidate initially garners a majority.
Maine has implemented RCV following the inability of several Democrat candidates to win elections in the state; rather than recruiting stronger candidates to gain certain voters who prefer left-leaning independent/third party candidates, the Democratic Party there instead chose to install a potentially unconstitutional voting system.
One of the controversies in the 2020 Presidential election is the belief that the software within the Dominion voting machines was allocating votes using RCV, even though for Presidential elections RCV is not allowed except in Alaska and Maine (and in other states for primaries only).
- Bruce Poliquin, Republican representative from Maine who lost re-election to Jared Golden in the 2018 Midterms due to RCV