Who Uses Ranked Ballots?

In 2013, some of us at RaBIT went on a road trip to Minneapolis to observe a ranked ballot election and talk to voters about the experience. 


Cities all across the USA use runoff voting to elect their mayor and/or city council. Recently, many of those cities (including San Francisco and Minneapolis) have modified their system, switching to a ranked ballot and an instant runoff (full list here). FairVote USA has been a leading advocate for this change, running advocacy campaigns across the country.

Just in the last five years, successful campaigns have been launched in Minneapolis, Oakland, Sarasota, Santa Fe, Memphis, and St. Paul.

Political Parties

All of Canada's parties have recently decided to use ranked ballots to choose their leaders. This change was made to boost internal democracy within the parties, allowing all members to vote - not just those who attend the convention. Our parties have always used some form of runoff system to choose their leaders and to nominate the local candidates.

Other Groups

How popular are ranked ballots? In 2010, even the Academy Awards adopted ranked ballots to choose Best Picture! This was done to avoid a situation where a movie could "win" with only 20% support in the Academy.

The National Hockey League uses a ranked ballot to choose its Hart, Norris, Calder, Lady Byng, Selke, Vezina, and Jack Adams award winners every year - with points awarded based on where each player has been ranked. The National Basketball Association uses the same system to choose its top player awards too.

In journalistic circles, the Canadian Press uses a ranked ballot for picking its leading Canadian athletes every year, including male and female athletes of the year and team of the year.

(Research: James Douglas Roy)