April 28, 2017

Things to do before Trump goes away: Instant runoff voting

Federal court upholds San Francisco instant runoff voting

We've long advocated instant runoff voting and now Britain is voting on adopting it (over there it's called alternative voting or AV). This is one of the best graphics on the topic we've seen. (FPTP is "first past the post" or the way most American elections are run)
Instant runoff voting is a method of electing a single winner. It provides an alternative to plurality and runoff elections. In a plurality election, the highest vote getter wins even if s/he receives less than 50% of the vote, and may even be considered the worst choice by the majority of voters. In a runoff election, two candidates advance to a runoff if no candidate receives more than 50% in the first round.
Voters rank candidates in order of choice: 1, 2, 3 and so on. It takes a majority to win. If a majority of voters rank a candidate first, that candidate is elected. If not, the last place candidate is defeated, just as in a runoff election, and all ballots are counted again, but this time each ballot cast for the defeated candidate counts for the next ranked candidate listed on the ballot. The process of eliminating the last place candidate and recounting the ballots continues until one candidate receives a majority of the vote.
Political status
Ireland uses IRV to elect its president, Australia to elect its House of Representatives, and London to elect its mayor. In the U.S., San Francisco, CA, Burlington, VT, and Cary NC are communities that use IRV to elect their major city offices such as mayor. Many major universities use IRV for their student government elections and the American Political Science Association to elect its president. Hundreds of jurisdictions, organizations and corporations use IRV to elect leaders.

As a state senator, Barack Obama introduced legislation that would have instituted IRV at the state and congressional level in Illinois. John McCain, Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich & Howard Dean support IRV.

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