Using RankedVote

Simulate Final-Five Voting Elections

How to Use RankedVote to Simulate Final-Five Voting Elections

What Is Final-Five Voting?

Final-Five Voting is the electoral reform proposed by Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter in their book The Politics Industry. It has two key components:

  1. Replace party primaries with open primaries where the top five vote getters advance to the general election regardless of their party affiliations.
  2. Conduct the general election using ranked-choice voting.

Why Use Final-Five Voting?

Open primaries and ranked-choice voting, when combined, improve the incentive structure for candidates and elected officials to deliver results to their constituents.

"Final-Five Voting gives voters more choice, more voice and most importantly, better results."KATHERINE M. GEHl, Founder

Benefits of Final-Five Voting

Ranked-choice voting improves election incentives:

  • Determines the candidate with the strongest support amongst all voters
  • Encourages civil campaigning
  • Reduces wasted votes

Open primaries with five winners improves governing incentives:

  • Encourages passing popular legislation
  • Increases candidate accountability to voters
  • Broadens electorate beyond diehard partisans
  • Reduces fear of "getting primaried"

Why Use RankedVote to Simulate Final-Five Voting?

RankedVote has worked with the experts on Final-Five Voting at the Institute for Political Innovation to develop the only online platform that lets you easily simulate this substantial reform.

You can quickly create a two-step election where the winners of the first election become the candidates in the second election — just like in a primary and general election using Final-Five Voting.

Follow the walkthrough below to see how 👇

Step-by-Step Walkthrough

Create Election

The initial steps are no different than creating any other election in RankedVote. Once you sign in, click the purple "Add" button seen at the top of your Elections List. Give your election a name and add the candidates.

Note: Final-Five is a Premium feature in RankedVote.

Make it "Final-Five"

Scroll down to the Ballot Type section and select "Final-Five." A confirmation box will come up asking you to confirm that you want to make this a Final-Five election. Select "Confirm" and then wait a few seconds while RankedVote does its behind-the-scenes work to link the two elections.

Activating the Final-Five feature for an election
Activating the Final-Five feature for an election

The page will then reload and you'll see a new blue section at the top. The blue section will allow you to switch between managing the primary election and the general election.

Adjust Settings (Optional)

By default, RankedVote will set your elections to the ideal settings to simulate Final-Five Voting.

The primary election is set to 5 winners and a "vote for one" ballot type. If you want to simulate a "Top-Four" election like those that will be used in Alaska starting in 2022, simply change Winners to 4. The "vote for one" ballot type cannot be changed.

The general election will be set to use the "Grid" ballot type and have 1 winner (Grid approximates the paper ballots that voters see when entering a real ballot booth for a ranked-choice election). If you want to use the "Drag and Drop" ballot type, go ahead. And, if you want to simulate a multi-winner election, just change the Winners to a number greater than 1.

Note: Candidate names are synced across both elections. So changing "Steve Sanders" to "Stephen Sanders" will change how that candidate is displayed in both the primary and general. All other settings are independent between elections.

Promote the Primary Election

With your election configured, you should be all ready to go. You just need some voters!

Promote your election by clicking on the "Vote Link" button for your primary election. This copies the URL for that election's ballot to your clipboard for easy pasting into other places. Feel free to share with your voters in any channel you please: email, social media, chat, messaging, etc.

Click "Voter Link" to easily copy the link to your clipboard
Click "Voter Link" to easily copy the link to your clipboard

Close the Primary Election

Once all the votes are in for the primary, it's a good idea to close the election by going to the End Date section and clicking "close election."

Remember, the whole point is that the winners of the primary become the candidates of the general election. If voters are still casting votes in the primary once voting starts for the general, this can lead to funky situations (like a candidate being removed from the general ballot after previously being on it). Closing the primary election blocks further votes from coming in. That means the candidates shown on the general ballot will remain consistent.

Close the primary election once all the votes are in
Close the primary election once all the votes are in

Promote the General Election

Second verse, same as the first! When it's time to collect votes for the general election, click on the "Vote Link" button in the blue section (make sure it's for the general election!) and paste the URL into email, social media, etc.

Check Out the Results (and Share!)

The RankedVote Results page dynamically updates as votes come in. Your voters can quickly see the current results, a visualization of the ranked-choice vote redistributions, and a plain language explanation of key ranked-choice concepts.

To maximize the education impact on your voters, don't hesitate to share the "Results Link" (same process as the "Vote Link") for the general election.

Best Practices

Make it "Multi-Office"

For the fullest election simulation, you'll want to take advantage of RankedVote's "Multi-Office" feature. This will allow you to create a single voter experience where multiple positions are voted upon (e.g. Governor, Senator, Congressperson, Mayor, etc.).

Have at Least Two More Candidates Than Winners in the Primary

You want your voters to feel a tangible impact from the two-step election. If you do a Final-Five election with six candidates, then only one gets eliminated in the primary. With such a slight difference between each step, it can feel repetitive.

By having at least two more candidates than winners, each step of the process feels meaningful. Ideally, that means you'll have at least seven candidates for a Final-Five election. Your voters will see a winnowing of the field in the first step and the selection of a ranked-choice winner in the second step.

You Don't Have to be Locked Into "Five"

Feel free to adjust the number of winners in your primary election as needed for your particular context. The "Five" in "Final-Five" is a great starting point as it maximizes voter choice without having an overwhelming number of candidates. Alaska happens to use "Four" as part of its recently passed reform. You may have reason to have "Six" or more. Whatever it is, RankedVote can handle it.

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