Executive Summary
The presidential primary system is a long and convoluted process. Candidates compete in dozens of independent elections across every state and territory in an attempt to secure enough backing to become their parties’ nominee for president. Each state runs its own elections, and both the Republican and Democratic parties have their own rules for how votes convert into national convention delegates. While each of these systems has its own set of benefits and problems, all of them could be improved by the use of ranked-choice voting (RCV).

RCV is not a new idea, but it has been spreading across the country in recent years, with five states now allowing voters to rank their favorite choices in the Democratic presidential primary. This paper explores how RCV can improve presidential primaries, both by creating more flexibility for voters as candidates drop out of the race and by more accurately allocating delegates to reflect voters’ preferences.

Press Release: Ranked-choice voting can improve presidential primaries

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