On Feb. 5, Auburn University students voted overwhelmingly to adopt ranked choice voting for on-campus elections, joining the dozens of universities across the world that have embraced the system.
According to an article by The Auburn Plainsman, the referendum—spearheaded by graduate student senator Max Zinner—passed with 71 percent of the vote.
In the past, student elections in which no candidate received 40 percent of vote were forced into a runoff—which typically faced decreased interest and, therefore, lower turnout from the student electorate.
As Student Government Vice President Schyler Burney noted to The Plainsman,
“We kind of realized there was a need to reassess the way voting is done just after seeing multiple runoff elections done in the past few years.”
By adopting ranked choice voting—also known as instant-runoff voting—Auburn eliminates the need for multiple runoff elections. Advocates hope it will, in turn, lead to increased interest in student elections and a sense that the voices of all of the voters are heard in these elections.
According to the terms of the referendum, the system would be used for executive offices in student government and, barring any hiccups, would be implemented in the spring elections.
To learn more about ranked choice voting on college campuses, check out this page.