February 13, 2013
Whenever a race for governor has more than two candidates, more than half the voters can strongly oppose the "winner" in a traditional plurality system. To eliminate "spoilers" and embrace voter choice, a growing number of cities and colleges are moving to the instant runoff form of ranked choice voting (RCV). It's used to pick the Best Picture Oscar and is now under serious consideration for statewide elections.
February 13, 2012
On February 12th, FairVote executive director Rob Richie was a guest on CSPAN television's Washington Journal, aired live around the nation. That day he also had the first and final letters in the New York Times' "Invitation to Dialogue" series on voting reform. FairVote staff and interns have been publishing many articles in 2012.
Rob Richie on CSPAN
January 12, 2012
The Republican Party in Utah used Instant Runoff Voting this week to elect a replacement for a state senate vacancy in a seven-candidate race. Indeed about a half dozen current Republican state lawmakers first won office in a similar way. In 2004, the state convention used IRV when former governor Jon Huntsman was first nominated.
Account of this week's election
Round by Round results from Davis County Republican Party
Article about past use of IRV to fill 2009 vacancy
Articles & analysis of 2002 & 2004 state conventions using IRV
Article on Utah testimony on adopting IRV for state offices
November 4, 2011
Ranked choice choice voting (RCV, or instant runoff) accommodates voters having more than two choices at the polls. This month, San Francisco (CA) will elect a mayor and two other citywide leaders with RCV. Portland (ME) and Telluride (CO) will elect mayors in hotly contested RCV races, and St. Paul (MN) and Takoma Park (MD) will elect city councilors with RCV. In Ireland, Michael Higgins was elected president with RCV, breaking out of a 7-candidate field for a landslide win thanks to a combination of strong first choice rankings and backup preferences from supporters of losing candidates. Cambridge (MA) will use the choice voting form of RCV that provides fair representation to its voters.
FairVote has been deeply involved in many of these implementations and will be tracking elections closely next week. Although controversial with some, RCV is working well -- and has strong backing from almost all mayoral candidates in both Portland and San Francisco. For more on the races, see:
- RCV in San Francisco: New opeds by Matt Gonzalez & Steven Hill
- Portland: Our Portlandvotes123.com, TV local news story and FairVote voter survey
- Coverage in Freakonomics
- Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio & Economist on San Francisco
- Associated Press on Portland
- Cambridge: Candidates for school board & city council
- Rob Richie blogs on Irish presidential election
- St. Paul elections: Voter education site & Star-Tribune commentary
September 29, 2011
Ranked choice voting or instant runoff voting ensures that the candidate that wins an election wins the majority of the vote. Voters will use ranked choice voting this fall in several exciting races: wide-open elections for mayor in San Francisco (CA) and Portland (ME); the presidential race in Ireland; and for other city races in the U.S., including St. Paul (MN). New voter education initiatives are helping show how easy ranked choice voting is for voters, and there have been excellent media stories.
July 15, 2011
On July 13th, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed H 6176 into law. Introduced on May 19th with the backing of FairVote Rhode Island, the bill passed the state Senate 35-2 and House 70-0. It establishes a voter choice study commission charged with studying ranked choice voting (RCV, or "instant runoff voting) and other options designed to increase voter participation and accountability, uphold majority rule and produce fiscal savings. The commission will issue a report by January 2012. A report by a similar commission in Colorado in 2007 led to a 2008 law allowing all localities to use RCV.
Rhode Island has a history of electing candidates with only plurality support, including the 2010 governor's race won with 36%. RCV would avoid "spoiler" dynamics in such election.