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November 7th, 2001

Instant Runoff Voting

Yes, Election Day was yesterday, but one issue I think that needs to be touched on soon is Instant Runoff Voting.

The idea behind this voting scheme is to allow voters to have more of a choice and to encourage participation while also assuring that minor party candidates won’t be viewed as “spoilers.” It’s best described by the web site itself:

Instant runoff voting is a winner-take-all system that ensures that a winning candidate will receive a majority of votes rather than a simple plurality. In plurality voting — as used in most U.S. elections — candidates can win with less than a majority when there are more than two candidates running for the office. In contrast, IRV elects a majority candidate while still allowing voters to support a candidate who is not a front-runner.

Take a look at the page above as well as the Flash animation illustrating how IRV works and let us know what you think.

To me, it sounds like a no-brainer. I’m anxious to see how the experiments with the IRV in the United States work out. -ram

Posted in Politics

FROM: Chris
DATE: Wednesday November 7, 2001 -- 11:39:26AM
I've been in favor of the instant runoff system for years. It will never happen though...

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday November 7, 2001 -- 5:13:37PM
Unfortunately, I agree with you, Chris. The people in power benefit too much from our current system. Anything that would give minor parties any sort of shot at office will be ignored by the Powers That Be.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Thursday November 8, 2001 -- 12:21:16AM
I thought the voter cards in FL. helped benefit Buchannan and the Reform Party

FROM: Josh
DATE: Thursday November 8, 2001 -- 3:57:57AM
You know, I want to say I remember where this little
exchange came from...But I just couldn't resist bringing it up:

"Remember, folks, show your faith in the system in the next
election: v--"

"Yeah, write in 'No Confidence.'"

Anyway, as to the idea of IRV, just going through the site, it
sounds like a good idea. But at the same time, I'm still skeptical...

I guess the only problem I'd have with it is the potential for
cheating with "misplaced" ballots and and pulling up an
honest breakdown of 2nd prefs in case of a runoff. But at
the same time, the same could be applied to the current
plurality system, too...Well, I always wanted a reason to do

*Fires up Google, and leaves one last quote*

"While any plan can be foolproof, no plan can damn foolproof."

--I forget the exact name, but I know it's from "Murphy's

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday November 8, 2001 -- 9:51:12AM
Matt -- Yeah, but that was just by coincidence.

Josh -- I'm sure the system isn't fool-proof, but it seems to be a step in the right direction.

FROM: Josh
DATE: Sunday November 11, 2001 -- 3:42:42AM
Ryan-- After a couple of hours of sleep, I've finally figured out what it was that rangled me about IRV...The point of listing a 3rd or lower preference, but I guess when your first and second choices get bumped off, all the other choices get upgraded...

That sound right?

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:47:34 pm

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