Missouri State Senate Hearing On Majority Voting Elections Through Instant Runoff Voting
Presented by Sen. Jeff Smith (D-St. Louis) and sponsored by Sen. John Loudon (R-Chesterfield), Senate Bill 1231 would be applied to elections to the offices of President and Vice President; United States Senate or House of Representatives; Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Auditor, or State Senator or Representative. Similar legislation in the house, HB 2089, would apply to all state elections.
“Among its benefits, SB 1231 would ensure that no candidate wins against majority opposition,” commented Rob Richie, executive director of the national organization FairVote. “It would eliminate controversies over so-called spoiler candidacies, as occurred in Missouri’s 2006 U.S. Senate race and past presidential elections with Ross Perot, John Anderson and Ralph Nader.”
With instant runoff voting, voters can rank candidates in order of preference rather than simply select one choice. If no candidate receives a majority of first choices, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and successive runoffs are simulated according to the voters’ rankings until one candidate receives a majority vote.
Instant runoff voting has been adopted in city elections in San Francisco (CA), Burlington
(VT), Minneapolis (MN) and Cary (NC). Instant runoff voting ballots are also used by overseas and military voters during traditional runoffs in South Carolina, Arkansas and Louisiana. The Vermont state legislature has sent to the governor a bill to adopt instant runoff voting for its U.S. House and U.S. Senate elections. It has been adopted by a majority of the nation’s top-rated universities, and backed by the League of Women Voters in numerous states. Nationally, IRV generates strong support from political leaders like Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain.
FairVote is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that studies the impact of electoral rules and systems on turnout, representation and electoral competition. For comment please contact FairVote’s executive director Rob Richie. To view more on instant runoff voting, visit http://www.instantrunoff.com and www.fairvote.org/irv.