Is ranked choice voting legal?

  • RCV is legal and helps to strengthen our democratic process. Four California charter cities use ranked choice voting (San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro). A legal challenge to RCV in San Francisco was unanimously rejected by a federal judge and the 9th circuit court of appeals.
  • Further, Santa Clara is a charter city, which means it has broad power over its municipal affairs, including the election method used for city offices. Therefore, it can determine its own election system and adopt ranked choice voting.
  • New York and Massachusetts courts have upheld the constitutionality of fair election systems, and multi-winner RCV is currently used to elect city officials in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Minneapolis, Minnesota.