The Effects of Ranked Choice Voting on Substantive Representation
56 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2021 Last revised: 24 Apr 2023
Date Written: April 23, 2023
I explore the effect of an increasingly popular electoral institution---ranked choice voting (RCV)---on substantive representation in local politics. Examining a host of fiscal variables and the ideological composition of city councils, I find that the municipalities adopting RCV saw no changes in outcomes or representation. I also use roll call data to show that the behavior of legislators who served both before and after the use of RCV did not change and that intra-city responsiveness remained constant after implementation. Lastly, I find that RCV did not even induce ideological changes in the set of candidates who decided to run. I conclude that RCV does not produce the significant effects on representation for which its proponents hope.
Keywords: ranked choice voting, electoral systems, representation, local politics
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