Posted by Sarah John on May 13, 2015
After the poor showing of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democratic Party in last week's British elections, the parties' leaders—Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, respectively—quickly resigned. Membership of both parties will choose new leaders in the coming months, and both parties will use ranked choice voting (RCV). With six candidates potentially in the race for the Labour leadership, bets are on for a competitive race in which the candidates will reach out to other candidates' supporters for their second or third choices. For the Liberal Democrats, whose House of Commons delegation has been slashed to eight, the race is likely to between just two men: Tim Farron (the former party president) and Norman Lamb (who was health minister in the former Conservative-Lib Dems coalition government).
RCV is already used in many elections in the UK, including the election of the House of Lords Speaker, special elections in the House of Lords, the election of the chairs of House of Commons committees in the House of Commons, as well as to choose party leaders. Indeed, it is used in most English speaking countries to choose party leaders at leadership conventions and elections, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. RCV appears to be widely accepted as the most obvious choice for democratically choosing a single party leader from a competitive field.