Amherst College Uses Ranked Choice Voting to Select New Mascot

Posted by Ej Marin on April 13, 2017

From March 20-31, 9,295 Amherst College alumni, students, faculty, and staff used ranked choice voting to select a new mascot. The crowded slate of candidates included the Fighting Poets, the Mammoths, Purple & White, the Valley Hawks, and the Wolves.

The election went through four rounds of voting before the Mammoths were selected with a majority of the vote. After gaining just 912 votes in the first round, the Wolves went extinct after and were eliminated. Wolves voters showed a strong preference for fellow animal contenders in their second choices, with 222 votes going to the Mammoths, 464 votes going to the Valley Hawks, 137 votes going to Purple & White, and 36 votes going to the Fighting Poets. After the second round, the Fighting Poets were eliminated leaving the Mammoths, Purple & White, and the Valley Hawks.

After the third round of voting, the Valley Hawks were eliminated, leaving the Mammoths as the only animal mascot candidate left. In the final, head-to-head round against Purple & White the Mammoths won 51.31% of the vote, making the Mammoth the official mascot of Amherst College. Having experienced the benefits of ranked choice voting first hand, Amherst College should consider using ranked choice voting in their student government elections, as do more than 50 US colleges and universities.

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