How to Mark a Ballot

For voters, marking a ranked choice voting ballot is simple. Voters rank their choices in order of preference – 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, and so on. 

  1. Select a first choice candidate by completely filling in the oval next to the candidate’s name in the FIRST CHOICE column.
  2. If you have a second choice candidate, completely fill in the oval next to that candidate’s name in the SECOND CHOICE column.
  3. If you have a third choice candidate, completely fill in the oval next to that candidate’s name in the THIRD CHOICE column.
  4. If your ballot allows more than the three rankings in the examples below, you can continue to rank candidates until you run out of allowable rankings, or you run out of candidates. 

Here are some important points about correctly marking a ranked choice voting ballot:

  • Make only one choice per column.
  • Do not skip columns.
  • You may rank as few candidates as you would like.
  • You may rank as many candidates as are allowed.

 

 

Example 1:

Correctly marked ballot, on which voter has indicated a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice.

RCV-ballots-correct.png

So that you fully understand the CORRECT way to mark the ranked choice ballot, let’s take a look at these examples of IMPROPERLY marked ballots where the voter is directed to select their first, second and third choice candidates, and how the ballot will be counted.

 

Example 2:

Overvoted 2nd ranking where 1st choice is marked correctly, two candidates are marked for 2nd choice, 3rd choice is not marked.

2ndovervote.png

How this voter’s ballot will be counted:

  • First choice will be counted.
  • Second choice vote will not be counted – voter's intent cannot be determined because this column has been overvoted.

Example 3:

Duplicate ranking where the same candidate is marked for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices.

 

 RCV-ballots-incorrect2.png

 

How this voter’s ballot will be counted:

  • First choice will be counted.
  • If the first choice candidate is eliminated, the second and third choices cannot be considered, as they are duplications.