What is Instant Runoff Voting?
Instant runoff voting (IRV) is an election reform that is rapidly gaining attention throughout the United States. Major efforts to replace existing plurality election laws with this more democratic alternative are underway in Alaska, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington, California, and elsewhere. Instant Runoff Voting allows for better voter choice and participation by accommodating multiple candidates in single seat races, while assuring that a "spoiler"-effect will not result in undemocratic outcomes. Instant runoff voting allows all voters to vote for their favorite candidate without fear of helping elect their least favorite candidate, and it ensures that the winner enjoys true support from a majority of the voters. Plurality voting, used in most American elections, does not meet these basic requirements for a fair election system that promotes wide participation.
Instant runoff voting is a winner-take-all system that ensures that a winning candidate will receive a majority of votes rather than a simple plurality. In plurality voting -- as used in most U.S. elections -- candidates can win with less than a majority when there are more than two candidates running for the office. In contrast, IRV elects a majority candidate while still allowing voters to support a candidate who is not a front-runner. IRV is a sensible method in single winner elections.
IRV allows voters to rank candidates as their first choice, second choice, third, fourth and so on. If a candidate does not receive a clear majority of votes on the first count, a series of runoff counts are conducted, using each voter's top choices indicated on the ballot. The candidate who received the fewest first place ballots is eliminated. The ballots are then retabulated, with each counting as a vote for the top-ranked candidate listed on the ballot that is still in contention. Voters who chose the now-eliminated candidate have their vote transferred to their second choice candidate -- just as if they were voting in a traditional two-round runoff election. This process continues until a candidate achieves more than fifty percent of the vote.
Check out http://www.instantrunofforegon.org/ to find out more and come to the general meeting at
the Holgate branch library, 7905 SE Holgate, Tuesday the 16th at 7:00 PM to find out more.