Using RankedVote

Key Features

Key Features

What is RankedVote?

RankedVote is a simple, fun way to run ranked choice contests online. It's designed help you make better decisions, faster — while also serving as a delightful introduction to ranked choice voting concepts for both you and your voters. No matter where your voters are or what device they use, RankedVote allows them to quickly cast their ballots and understand the results.

And, although RankedVote's design is simple on the surface, its capabilities run deep.

With RankedVote's advanced features, you can unleash the power of ranked choice voting inside your team, organization, or online community. You can make decisions you know have the strongest support. The only limit is your imagination. RankedVote has been used for everything from selecting the next book for a book club to naming snow plows to running voter education campaigns across the largest city in the U.S.

Read on to understand the full extent of what RankedVote has to offer.

Starter Features (available on all contests)

All contests in RankedVote have a robust feature set. Even on the free Starter Plan, you'll have a set of capabilities that allows you to become familiar with how ranked choice voting works.

Contest Types

RankedVote helps you use ranked choice voting to run compelling contests, make better decisions, or educate voters.

When adding a new event to RankedVote, you can choose between these three types: "Contest," "Decision," and "Election." Each type features terminology on the page intended to make the voting experience clear to your voters.

The "Election" type has access to a more in-depth Results Explanation, Voter Languages, Real-World Candidates, and the Final-Five Election format.


This is what your voters will rank when voting. For "Decisions," these are referred to as "options." For "Elections," these are referred to as "candidates."

If you make any mistakes while creating choices, you can always edit any choice's name. And, as long as no votes have been submitted in your election, you can delete choices, too.

Drag and Drop Ballots

Voters can use a "Drag and Drop" ballot type for voting. Voters simply move their most preferred candidate to the top of the list. Their second most preferred goes just under that first one and so on. Drag and drop is a simple, intuitive design that works particularly well on mobile devices. Try drag and drop ballots for yourself.

Grid Ballots

The "Grid" ballot type is a digital version of the paper ballot used in Maine, New York City, and Alaska. It's ideal for voter education efforts. It allows voters to practice ranked choice voting prior to getting into the ballot box for real.

Grid ballots also work well for elections with large numbers of candidates (think 12 or more) where the drag and drop ballot can become tedious.

Results Calculation

All contests have a robust Results Page that not only tells you what you need to know (like who won), but also educates your voters about how ranked choice voting works.

The Summary gives you the most critical election information at a glance. It tells you which candidates won, how many votes they needed, how many votes there were overall, and how many candidates were in the election.

The Visualization shows you how the ranked choice election transpired. You'll see the round-by-round dynamics of eliminations and vote redistributions — the heart of how ranked choice differs from other election methods. Additional visualizations are available on "Elections" in partnership with

For "Elections," the Explanation steps you through what happened during the election in plain language. Key concepts like "eliminations" and "exhausted" or "inactive" votes are explained in detail using the context of your specific election.

The Round-by-Round Details make it clear how each choice performed during each round. You'll also be able to see how votes were transferred to each candidate.

Example results page with summary and visualization
The Results Page for a sample election.

Rich Candidate Descriptions

You can provide additional information to your voters through Group Affiliation and Description.

Group Affiliation (e.g. Team Name, Business Department, Democrat) allows you to provide a meaningful label to a candidate or choice that appears directly beneath its name on the ballot.

Description allows you to go deeper on anything else you want to include about the candidate. Add context, biographies, answers to frequently asked questions, and even link to other relevant resources outside RankedVote.

Randomized Choice Order

There's a lot of power in being listed first. To eliminate this bias in your results, the order on the ballot is randomized each time a voter visits.

Multiple Winners

Setting this to a value greater than one allows RankedVote to discover the most acceptable choices to your voters. What's great is that nothing about the voter's experience changes. This is ideal for elections like "what are our top two priorities this month?" or "filling three seats on an open board."


In RankedVote, a Multi-Category Contest has a voter cast a vote for each category one after the other. For example, you could run a "Best Local Restaurant" contest with categories of "Breakfast," "Lunch," and "Dinner." After voting for "Breakfast," the voter would then immediately see the ballot for "Lunch" and so on.

If you're making a "Decision," this feature is called Multi-Topic. In an election, it is referred to as "Multi-Office."

You can read more about how to create your own multi-office elections or try it out yourself in this sample election.

Controlled Voter Access

When you only want members of your organization to participate in a contest, you can take advantage of the Allowed Voters and Voter Registration features.

Voter Registration makes it so that voters are required to put in a Name and Email (or unique ID) in order to cast their ballots. Each ID can only be used to cast one vote. Subsequent votes from that ID are blocked. As votes come in, you'll also be able to see who has voted so far.

Combined with the Allowed Voters feature, you can effectively restrict a contest to just members of your organization. Allowed Voters takes a list of comma-separated IDs and only allows those IDs to participate (e.g., fred1984, id-252742). As votes come in, you'll be able to see who has voted, who hasn't voted yet, and your overall "turnout" for your contest, decision, or election.

Voter Deduplication

Most contests have well-behaved voters. But, every now and then, you may get one (or a few) that keep voting to drive up the numbers for their preferred choice.

Voter Deduplication blunts this impact.

Duplicate Voter Monitoring will let you know if RankedVote suspects that the same device was used to cast more than one ballot. Any duplicates will show in the Potential Duplicate List with the Name and ID of the voter — allowing you to determine whether this is expected, an honest mistake, or someone misbehaving.

Deduplicate Results will remove the duplicated ballots from your contest's results. This means it keeps the first vote from a device and then ignores all subsequent votes.

End Date

This allows you to define the date and time when votes will no longer be accepted. So, if you set the date for June 21st at 10am, voters will see a "This election is closed" message starting at that time. The time zone will reflect the time zone of the computer you use to set the end date.

In the example above, let's say the computer used to set the End Date is in the Central Time Zone. That means voters will be blocked from voting on June 21st at 10am Central, which is the same as June 21st at 11am Eastern or June 21st at 8am Pacific.

If your voters span across time zones, keep this in mind as you select and communicate your end date.

Tip: If you just want to stop an election from receiving further votes, click the "Close election" text and all future voters will be blocked.

Voter Languages

You can create elections that cater to specific linguistic communities. The voter Ballot, Thank You, and Results pages will display in the selected language for all visitors to that election. English is the default. Other supported languages include:

Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, Yiddish, and six Alaska Native Languages.

Results Visibility

By default, the Results page is open to anyone with the link to see. If you want to keep that closer to the vest for any reason, set Results Visibility to "only contest creator."

Pro-Only Features

The Pro Plan gives you more control over who can vote and the ballot data that's collected. It's great for when you want to create multiple contests or use ranked choice voting in a more serious way.

Candidate Photos

Bring your candidate profiles to life with a photo. Typically, this is the candidate's face, but it can also be used for voting on candidates that are visual in nature (e.g. an art contest).

Remove Individual Votes

Get fined-grained controls over your contest. See who voted and remove anything that looks like a potential mistake, a duplicate vote, or someone acting suspicious.

Data Download

Get the data behind all the votes cast in a contest for your own record keeping or analysis. Downloads are available in multiple formats.

Upload Allowed Voter Lists

Larger voter lists often already exist in spreadsheet form. You can upload a CSV file of your voters quickly and easily into RankedVote.

Build Voter Lists

Use RankedVote contests as a way compelling way to attract new members to your audience. Easily copy the list of voters as a way to quickly build up your own mailing lists.

Premium-Only Features

The Premium Plan allows you to customize RankedVote's look and embed it more seamlessly in your own site.

Embed on Your Site

Bring all the ranked-choice calculations, visualizations, and explanations of RankedVote directly into your website. No asking your visitors to go somewhere else. Keep them on your website engaging with your content. Check out the Embed RCV guide to learn how.

Custom URL

Simplify the link voters see to reinforce your brand or the message you're trying to get across. You can go from the default unique link to something shorter and clearer like

Custom Action Banner

The Action Banner is effectively a compelling "banner ad" that appears throughout the post-voting experience. You can direct voters to your social media accounts, online storefront, donation page, or anything else you choose. Whatever you want to grow, you can now use ranked-choice voting contests as the hook.  Customize the text, button, and link to drive voters towards whatever next step you desire.

Custom Color

Color can be changed to better match your group's brand. The color replaces RankedVote's usual purple on the Ballot, Thank You, and Results pages as well as the "Action Banner" that appears on those pages.

You can select any hexadecimal value (a common way for websites to define color). For example, RankedVote's purple is #7540EE.

Copy Settings and Choices

When adding a new contest, you can choose to copy the settings and choices from a previously created event. This is a time-saver and accuracy-booster. It saves time by removing the need to enter descriptions again and again. It boosts accuracy by making sure all your configurations (like Results Visibility and Voter Registration) are set the way you intended.

NOTE: The Allowed Voter List is not copied over. If want the same set of people to participate, you will need to add that list to each copied election.

Simulate Real-World Elections

See what real US Federal Elections would look like if ranked-choice voting were available. Pull in candidates from any primary or general election since 2018 and put them on a ranked-choice ballot.

Candidate data provided in partnership with Ballotpedia.

Plurality Election Format

Also known as "most votes wins" or "first-past-the-post," plurality style elections are the status quo in the United States. In RankedVote, you can use the Plurality format to help your voters experience the improvement that ranked choice voting offers.

Combined with the Copy Settings and Choices feature, you can quickly run a plurality election, copy it, switch the ballot type to Grid, and then run it again with your voters.

Final-Five Election Format

Final-Five Voting is a powerful combination of two key electoral reforms: ranked-choice voting and open primaries. Together, they better represent voters while improving governing incentives.

In the first election (the "open primary"), voters choose their favorite candidate. The top five vote getters then advance to the next election (the "general"). In the general election, voters use ranked-choice ballots to rank their favorite candidates.

In RankedVote, you can simulate your own Final-Five election by creating an advanced election and its candidates. Then, select "Final-Five" as a Ballot Type. Once you confirm, RankedVote will spend a few moments creating the primary and general elections and linking them.

The winners of the primary election are the only candidates available to voters in the general election.

"Final-Five Voting" elections on RankedVote are made in partnership with the Institute for Political Innovation.

Team-Only Features

The Team Plan allows you to use RankedVote in a collaborative group setting. It's great for teams within larger organizations that want to see everything in one place.

NOTE: Team members are able to use all features in the Premium Plan for any contests they create.

User Roles & Permissions

When you invite others to work with you on your RankedVote contests, you can control how much they're able to view and edit by setting them to appropriate roles. There are three roles on RankedVote Teams:

Team Member
Team Members can edit any aspect of the contests they create. They can view contests created by others and download the ballot data. They cannot invite others or manage team member roles.

Team Admin
Team Admins are quite flexible. They can edit any aspect of all contests the team has created (including their own). They can invite other team members and manage team roles.

Billing Admin
Billing Admins are just like Team Admins with the added capability of viewing and managing payment info. They can view and download past invoices, update billing info, and change plans. Every team is required to have at least one Billing Admin.

URL Customization

By default, contests in RankedVote are accessed by going to an address ending in something like "/rv/dju1ieksj329dsk9kc/vote". Teams can customize the "rv" portion to something that better matches their brand, company, or organization. Combined with the Custom URL feature on individual contests, it's possible to have very human readable links like "".

All Contests in One Place

Every contest created by team members show up on the Dashboard upon signing in. Any that you have created will show at the top for easy access. Any create by others on the team will show up in the section below.

Centralized Billing

With Teams, there's one subscription that applies across the entire team. No more need for each team member to create separate subscriptions. Or to do clunky account transfers when someone leaves the group. Everything can be handled by the Billing Admins on the team.

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