Resources for Ranked-choice Voting (RCV)

Updated October 2, 2020

Ranked-choice voting in Maine (explainer animation):

This animated video provides voters with an explanation of the voting process, tabulation and all other aspects of voting in an RCV election.

RCV Animation Text Word format and PDF format



How do I properly mark the ranked-choice ballot?

View these examples of marked ballots to see how you can mark your ballot to make sure your vote is counted accurately.

Sample ballots for the November 3, 2020 General Election

RCV Congressional District 1 Sample Ballot

RCV Congressional District 2 Sample Ballot


Have questions about ranked-choice voting? Find the answers.

Printable (PDF)

Ballot Booth RCV Instruction Poster

This poster explaining how to mark the ranked-choice ballot is posted in every voting booth on Election Day.

Fact Sheet:

This PDF provides the facts voters need to know about voting in a ranked-choice election.

What is the process for tabulating ranked-choice ballots?

Ranked-choice voting results tabulation glossary

This glossary explains the terms used in the ranked-choice voting results grid that is produced to explain the results of any ranked-choice race. See our Election Results page.

Round 1:

This is the first round of ranked-choice voting tabulation, which begins to apply the RCV rules onto the ballots that were cast on Election Day. (Note: The unofficial Election Day tally can be considered as Round 0). For example, if a voter did not mark any candidate as their first choice, their ballot was counted as blank on election night. In Round 1, if the voter marked the ballot for their second choice candidate, their vote is bumped up and counted, per the RCV rules.) Rounds continue until only two candidates remain and the winner is determined as the candidate with more than 50% of the votes in that final round.

Exhausted ballot:

There are no valid votes in any ranking on the voter’s ballot for any continuing candidate (a candidate who is still in the race and has not been defeated). Types of exhausted ballots:

  • Exhausted choices: For those ballots that are exhausted by exhausted choices, all of the voter’s candidate choices have been eliminated from the race. (Note: If they cast a vote for a candidate who has been eliminated, their vote remains with that candidate, just as it would in a plurality race if they had voted for the losing candidate.)
  • Undervote: The voter did not mark any candidates, or refrained from ranking, in that choice category (1st, 2nd, 3rd). Those whose ballots are exhausted by undervote either didn’t vote in this race at all, or they left BOTH their first and second choices blank (in which case, we do not look any further down their ballot, per the RCV rules).
  • Overvote: The voter chose more than one candidate for that ranking. For example, the voter marked BOTH Candidate A and Candidate B as their choice.

Continuing ballots:

All ballots that include a valid vote for a continuing candidate, and therefore have not been exhausted.


The votes that go to a continuing candidate when another candidate is eliminated. This is determined by reviewing each ballot initially cast for the eliminated candidate. The elections software looks further down each voter’s ballot to see if the voter ranked another candidate who is still in the race, and if so, it moves or “transfers” their vote to that candidate (For example: Your vote transfers to your second choice candidate if your first choice candidate is eliminated from the race).


Ballot Exhausted by Overvotes + Ballot Exhausted by Undervotes + Exhausted Ballot + Continuing Ballots.


Rule Adopted November 2, 2018 - (PDF)

Rules Establishing Procedures for Requesting and Conducting Recounts of Elections Determined by Ranked-choice Voting (PDF)

Timeline of Ranked-choice Voting in Maine:

This timeline shows the legislative and legal history of this new method of voting in the State of Maine. updated 1/5/2021 (PDF)