TAKOMA PARK, MD — In an advisory ballot measure placed on the ballot by a 7-0 vote of the Takoma Park city council, fully 84% of voters voted for the proposal to have future city elections use instant runoff voting. A majority of the city council is committed to implementing the new system in time for the mayoral and city council races in 2007.
Rob Richie, director of FairVote- The Center for Voting and Democracy commented, "This was a huge win for better elections. Instant runoff voting is an essential component of the future of reform."
Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., a FairVote board member, applauded the vote. “Today's overwhelming victory for instant runoff voting in Takoma Park is the latest signal that the American people are ready to upgrade American democracy. All across this nation our citizens deserve an electoral process that gives us real choices, the freedom to vote for our favorite choices and the power of majority rule."
Used to elect the most powerful offices in cities like San Francisco (CA) and Burlington (VT) and in nations like Australia, Ireland and Great Britain, instant runoff voting ensures candidates win single-seat offices with majority support. It accomplishes the goals of a traditional runoff election in one efficient round of voting. Voters indicate both their favorite and their runoff choices. If no candidate receives a majority of first choices, the weak candidates are eliminated and their supporters' votes are counted for their runoff choices. It contrasts with conventional plurality elections which allow a candidate to win without majority support and traditional runoff elections which require two separate and often costly elections.