What the Oscars Academy Can Teach the U.S. About How to Run Political Elections

Posted on News Coverage by on March 28, 2022

Originally published in TheWrap, 3/23/2022. Katie Usalis of RepresentWomen, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for more women in office, talks about the use of Ranked Choice Voting by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to select Oscar nominees, to award Best Picture, and to elect its Board of Governors. Ranked choice voting is the best and easiest way to ensure representative outcomes that reflect majority support, and should also be used in US political elections.

The Jurisdictions That Use RCV

Posted on Ranked Choice Voting on March 02, 2022

Ranked choice voting is an election reform that has been implemented in jurisdictions across a multitude of sizes, demographics, political affiliations, and geographical locations. This page highlights the diversity of the current jurisdictions that use ranked choice voting. 

Our Research: RCV Dashboard 2022

Posted on Ranked Choice Voting on February 11, 2022

A plain text version of this page is available here 

infogram_0_f45a9b75-7958-4bcd-b51b-adb30abd22e4RCV Dashboardhttps://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed.js?mYftext/javascript


RepresentWomen's mission is to bridge the gap between the women's representation and election reform movements by providing resources that outline the role of systems strategies in advancing women's representation and leadership in the United States. If you have a question about ranked choice voting or would like to request our team to prepare educational tools tailored to your needs as an activist in either space, reach out to us through the contact us page on our website or email [email protected]

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New York City

Posted on Ranked Choice Voting on December 07, 2021

RepresentWomen's research on electoral reforms shows that ranked choice voting helps to elect more women to office and is an innovative and effective tool to build a 21st-century democracy that better reflects all voters. In 2021, 32 cities used ranked choice voting in their municipal elections, including New York City for its June 2021 primaries. This was the first time New York City has used ranked choice voting since the late-1940s to nominate candidates for mayor, public advocate, comptroller, the five borough presidents, and the city council. 

2021 NYC Council Election Results

After the November general election, 61% of the New York City council seats will be filled by women, making it the first time in history the New York City council will have a woman majority. Thirty-one women (1 Republican, 30 Democrat) won their general races with twenty-five being women of color. 

Want to help more women run, win, serve, and lead? Take Action 


Our Research: RCV By the Numbers 2021

Posted on Ranked Choice Voting on December 03, 2021

A plain text version of this page is available here

Meet the 2021 Ranked Choice Voting Electeds

As of November 2021, 28 cities have used ranked choice voting to elect their sitting mayors, and 33 cities have used ranked choice voting to elect representatives to their city councils. In 2021 alone, women composed only 34% of all candidates in municipal ranked choice elections yet won 47% of the seats available.

New York City Results 

Who are the Mayors of Ranked Choice Cities? (43% Women)

Twenty-eight cities have used ranked choice voting to elect their current mayors. Women hold 12 of these 28 RCV-elected mayoral seats (43%), including Mayors Libby Schaaf (Oakland, CA), London Breed (San Francisco, CA), Pauline Russo-Cutter (San Leandro, CA), DeLanie Young (Telluride, CO), Kate Stewart (Takoma Park, MD), and Kate Snyder (Portland, ME). In 2021, four of those women were re-elected into their seat and two women were elected into office for the first time. 

infogram_0_30f82ba8-a2a5-4ac6-a462-d55646be56abRCV Mayors - Gender and Racehttps://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed.js?VJ6text/javascript

Below is an interactive display showcasing the women mayors elected using RCV. Click on any pointer on the map to learn more about the woman mayor, the city she presides over, and when she was first elected. Underneath the map are the faces of all the women mayors, their names, and their respective cities.  

infogram_0_2d64cde9-2e81-4b2e-b8d0-55a86be17e03Women Mayors of RCVhttps://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed.js?qHbtext/javascript

Who are the City Councilors in Ranked Choice Cities? (51% Women)

Thirty-three cities have used ranked choice voting to elect their city councilmembers. Over half (51%) of these representatives are women, and nearly a quarter (23%) are women of color. Fifteen cities that use ranked choice voting to elect their city councilors have either achieved or surpassed gender parity. These cities include: New York City, NY; Vineyard, UT; Berkeley, CA; St. Paul, MN; Santa Fe, NM; Takoma Park, MD; St. Louis Park, MN; Las Cruces, NM and Oakland, CA. 

infogram_0_f28745f1-eeeb-492c-a145-d3b0769124b9RCV City Councils 2021 With Charthttps://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed.js?HuEtext/javascript

Want to learn more about some of the jurisdictions that use ranked choice voting?

Click the button below to learn about the racial demographics, population size, the first women elected with ranked choice voting in that jurisdiction and more. 

The Jurisdictions That Use RCV 


The number of jurisdictions using ranked choice voting in the United States is growing. Two states, Maine and Alaska use ranked choice voting in statewide elections. More than 50 jurisdictions are projected to use ranked choice voting in their next election. Check in with FairVote to learn more about where ranked choice voting is used in the United States.

Learn Where Ranked Choice Voting Is Used 


Our Research: RCV Reports & Data

Posted on Ranked Choice Voting on December 03, 2021

A plain text version of this page is available here

Ranked Choice Voting Dashboard

Released: January 2022

In 2022, we released a new interactive dashboard to present the latest data on women's representation in ranked choice cities. In addition to providing summary data on where ranked choice voting (RCV) is used and its impact on local representation, the RCV Dashboard includes updated case studies on the impact of ranked voting on women's representation in Cambridge, New York City, the Bay Area, and Utah. 

See Our Dashboard

New York City Research Portal

Updated: November 2021

In July 2021, we released our preliminary findings on the impact of ranked choice voting on women's representation in New York City, where RCV was used for the first time since the late 1940s to nominate candidates for mayor, public advocate, comptroller, the five borough presidents, and the city council. In November, our team revisited this research and produced a series of digital resources mapping out the history of women's representation on the New York City council, the re-introduction of RCV, and the impact RCV had on women candidates. 

Go To Our New York City Page

Election Reform & Women's Representation: Ranked Choice Voting in the U.S.

Released: June 2021

In 2021, we published an article in Politics and Governance on the history and impact of single- and multi-winner ranked choice voting on women’s representation in the U.S. In addition to revisiting some of the research from our 2016 and 2020 reports, this article allowed us to dig deeper into the available literature on ranked choice voting and identify knowledge gaps that should be addressed in future research. 

Read Our 2021 Article

In Ranked Choice Elections, Women WIN

Released: July 2020

Our 2020 ranked choice voting report, "In Ranked Choice Elections, Women WIN" provides a thorough review of ranked choice voting in the United States and how it is impacting women's representation in the cities that have implemented it. From 2010-2019, 19 cities and counties used ranked choice voting to elect their city officials, including 13 mayors and the city councilmembers in 14 jurisdictions. In that decade, women won 48% of all municipal elections.

Read Our 2020 Report

The Importance of Ranked Choice Voting on Representation

Released: August 2016

In 2016, RepresentWomen (then known as Representation 2020) studied the impact of single-winner ranked choice voting in the California Bay Area (Berkeley, Oakland, San Francsico, and San Leandro), a "hotbed of RCV implementation," where over 100 ranked choice elections had taken place between 2004 and 2014 to decide local leadership in 53 offices. The study found that more women (42%) and people of color (60%) ran in and won these elections since ranked choice voting was introduced. By the start of 2016, women held 59% and people of color held 60% of these offices.

Read Our 2016 Report

RCV 101: How Multi-Winner Ranked Choice Voting Levels the Playing Field

Posted on Ranked Choice Voting on December 03, 2021

A plain text version of this page is available here


An election system that creates barriers for women candidates will not render a reflective democracy. In place of the current system, the U.S. should adopt a fair voting system at all levels of government. According to our research, the best model would be one that makes use of ranked choice voting (RCV) and multi-winner districts (MWDs) to proportionally represent communities across the United States.

Ranked choice voting is an election system in which voters can rank candidates in order of preference. When tabulating the results, each voter's first choice is counted. If a candidate receives a majority of the vote, they win the seat. But if no candidate reaches a majority, then the candidate who received the fewest votes is eliminated. The ballots with the eliminated candidate ranked first are then recounted for their second choice candidate. If no one reaches a majority after the second round, the process continues until a candidate wins with majority support. 

Multi-winner districts refer to a system in which two or more representatives are elected to serve a single district.  Most of the original 13 states used multi-winner districts (MWDs) in Congressional elections. This practice ended in 1842. Today, our best examples come from state legislative chambers, cities, and counties. Of the 7,383 seats available in all state legislatures, 15% (1,082) are elected from districts that have more than one representative. 

In a multi-winner ranked choice system, representatives win seats based on how the voters rank each candidate. On average, the percentage of the population represented by at least one woman increases dramatically with the use of multi-winner districts. Voters in Cambridge, MA have been electing city councilors and school committee members in multi-winner ranked choice elections since 1941. Learn more about the jurisdictions using multi-winner elections with FairVote

Multi-Winner Ranked Choice Voting Case Study: Australia

Australia was the first country in the world to give women (excluding aboriginal women) both the right to vote and to stand in 1902. The House of Representatives has used single winner ranked choice voting since 1918 while the Senate has used multi winner ranked choice voting since 1948.
Women candidates have consistently found more success in the Australian Senate than the Australian House of Representatives since 1943, reflected in the chart below. In 2019 the Australian Senate achieved gender parity and has since surpassed it while the Australian House has yet to reach gender parity.

infogram_0_f35ac68f-235c-4068-b9c8-92203964b8a6Australian Representation - Just Graphhttps://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed.js?hzhtext/javascript

Did you know? 

According to our research, women are better represented by proportional representation than winner-take-all voting. Multi-winner ranked choice voting is one form of proportional representation, and it was used in the United States as early as 1915. To learn more about the history of multi-winner ranked choice voting in the United States, read our 2021 article, "Election Reform and Women’s Representation: Ranked Choice Voting in the U.S."

Read Our Article