Ranked-Choice Voting has caused considerable concern among voters wondering how they can make sure their ballot is not thrown out or invalidated in the counting or retabulation process.

Following are some ways you can fill out your RCV Ballot to ensure your vote is counted. (And below, some examples of how NOT to fill out a ballot)

We hope you will take the time to share this information widely to ensure everyone understands how to use RCV in the upcoming election.

VOTE FOR THE SAME ONE CANDIDATE ACROSS THE BALLOT IN EACH ROUND

You can also vote for the same candidate across the board in every round. This will have the same effect as voting for one candidate in just the first round, but some voters want to make sure their ballot is “complete” and this is an acceptable way to do so.

See illustration below

Note that the same candidate is selected in every round on this ballot. This is a VALID ballot.

VOTE FOR JUST ONE CANDIDATE IN THE FIRST ROUND (BULLET VOTE)

If you just vote for one candidate in the first round, your vote will be counted in round one and following RCV rounds, as long as your candidate is still in the running.

Your round one vote essentially “sticks” to that candidate in following rounds.

See Bullet Vote illustration below

Note that this ballot has a first round vote for one candidate only. This is a VALID ballot.

RANK YOUR CHOICES ALL THE WAY, OR PART OF THE WAY

You can rank your choices in as many rounds as you like. You can rank two, three, four or as many candidates as there are.

Just be careful not to vote for two people in the same round (vertical column)!!

You can rank all of the candidates, or just some of the candidates, so long as you do the rankings in consecutive rounds, ie Round 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

See illustrations of completed and partially completed VALID ballots below

Note that a selection is made in each round on this ballot. This is a VALID ballot.
Note that a selection is made in three rounds on this ballot. This is a VALID ballot.
Note that a selection is made on two rounds on this ballot. This is a VALID ballot.

INVALID BALLOTS

There are also some ways you should absolutely NOT fill out a ranked-choice voting ballot.

DO NOT VOTE FOR MORE THAN ONE CANDIDATE IN A SINGLE ROUND (VERTICAL COLUMN)

Just like with an ordinary ballot, do not vote for more than one candidate in round one or in any round.

Votes for more than one candidate in round one, or in subsequent rounds will be considered “overvotes” and will be thrown out.

See the illustrations below for a ballot that would be thrown out as an overvote

Note that two candidates are selected in Round One of this ballot. This is an overvote and makes the ballot INVALID.

DO NOT SKIP ROUNDS IN RANKING, ESPECIALLY AT THE BEGINNING

Skipping rounds and then voting in later rounds could get your vote thrown out.

Although the rules of RCV technically allow you to skip a round, we encourage you not to skip rounds. If you decide to rank, simply be thorough.

See below for illustrations that show the improper skipping of rounds

Note that Round One and Round Two are skipped and the first selection is made on Round 3. This skipping of rounds make this ballot INVALID.
Note that the first two rounds are skipped but then the subsequent rounds are completed. The skipping of two rounds makes this ballot INVALID.

IF YOU HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS ABOUT RANKED CHOICE VOTING PLEASE CALL (207) 622-6247 OR EMAIL CONTACT@MAINEGOP.COM

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