Posted by Paul Fidalgo on May 21, 2009Our boss Rob Richie and South Carolina State Rep. Bill Herbkersman co-authored an op-ed in today's The State on the plunge that turnout numbers can take when a primary election requires a separate runoff, and how instant runoff voting can nip that problem in the bud. A taste:
In the 11 runoff races held on June 24, nine saw voter turnout plunge by 16 percent or more. The low point was the race for the Democratic nomination in the 4th District U.S. House seat, in which 48 percent fewer voters came to the polls the second time around: The winner actually earned far fewer votes than he earned in the first round.
There's real value in requiring nominees to prove that they have majority support in their party. But there's something wrong when turnout plunges so sharply, and taxpayers have to foot the bill, which the State Election Commission estimated at roughly $650,000 in South Carolina last year.
It doesn't have to be this way. We're in the 21st century, and South Carolina can replace its traditional approach to majority elections with instant runoff voting.
How does IRV work its primary magic? Read the entire piece to find out.