Note: This page may be updated as new questions are received. Please check back regularly for updates.

What is Ranked-Choice Voting? 

Have you ever wanted to choose a candidate by how you rank them, 1, 2, 3?  Ranked-choice voting (RCV), also known as instant-runoff voting, gives you that opportunity and was adopted by our Union for Board elections effective Oct. 1, 2022. Instead of the highest vote-getter winning an election by a plurality (even if they did not win a majority – over 50% — of the votes), RCV allows members to rank candidates in the order of their preference, selecting their preferred candidate as their 1st ranked candidate, and selecting their 2nd choice, 3rd choice, and so on.

If no candidate is the first choice of more than 50% of the voters, an instant runoff is triggered and the candidate who received the least votes for first choice will not move to this next round. Those who voted for the candidate who was eliminated then have their second-choice votes added to the first-choice votes for the other candidates. This process continues until a candidate has more than 50% of the vote.

This method of voting is used by many countries, as well as some states, counties, and cities in the U.S. RCV can lead to less negative campaigning since candidates rely on being a second or third choice and encourages members to run for office as they do not fear “splitting the vote” or running against fellow member(s) they also support.

You can also learn more about ranked choice voting by watching this brief video from FairVote.org: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z2fRPRkWvY

What Does A Ranked Choice Vote Ballot Look Like? 

This ballot has been properly completed. No candidate has been ranked more than once and no identical ranking has been given to more than one candidate. This voter’s preferences will be considered regardless of whether their preferred candidates receive a majority of the vote because they ranked each candidate.

Do I Have to Rank All the Candidates?

No, you may choose to rank only your most preferred candidates and your vote will still be valid. However, if your preferred candidates are the least preferred of all voters and are eliminated, your preferences will not be considered if your preferred candidates are eliminated since you did not rank other candidates. Please also note that in some contests for Directors and Assistant Directors, more than one candidate can win election. Voters are encouraged to rank all candidates.

What Happens If I Vote for More Than One Candidate for the Same Rank?

 If you rank more than one candidate for the same ranking, your vote will be invalidated. If you make this error, please contact the Member Assistance Center at 1-844-503-SEIU (7348) to request that a replacement ballot be mailed. You cannot initial your true choice – initials invalidate the secrecy of your ballot. Voters should be careful when selecting their choices that they only rank one candidate per ranking.

Image of Invalid Ballot with Overvote

Image of Invalid Ballot with Overvote

Can I Rank the Same Candidate for Every Rank?

Your vote will not be invalidated if you make this choice, but ranking the same candidate for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. when already ranked as 1st provides them no additional benefit. If your candidate is eliminated, your preferences will not be included in determining the winner. In contests where more than one candidate can be elected, ranking only one candidate would also mean you did not express your preferences for the additional position(s).

Image of ranked choice vote ballot with every candidate given the same rank

How Will Winners Be Selected in a Multi-Winner Ranked Choice Vote Contest? 

Multiple candidates may be elected per round if they exceed the winning threshold. The surplus vote (votes exceeding the number required to win) of all candidates crossing the winning threshold is transferred to the next choice vote of all voters as a weighted percentage of the surplus. This method is the same method recently adopted by the City of Portland in the 2022 ballot measure, 26-228, for electing multiple City Council winners. You can learn more about multi-winner ranked choice voting administration at FairVote.org.

Who Can I Contact with Other Questions?

 You may contact the Elections Team by contacting elections@seiu503.org. You may also contact your organizer or the Member Assistance Center at 1-844-503-SEIU (7348).