9 November 2006
Voice your second choice
From 2005, Michael Bates explains Instant Runoff Voting:
Under IRV, voting is simple. Voters rank the candidates in order: I mark a 1 next to my favorite, then mark a 2 next to the name of the candidate who would be the my choice if my favorite weren't in the race, and so on down the list.
It's called instant runoff voting because it's equivalent to having a series of runoff elections, eliminating the low vote-getter each pass and choosing among the remaining candidates. The advantage of IRV over a series of runoff elections is that you only have to open the polls once. IRV is used to elect the President of Ireland, members of Parliament in Australia, and here in Tulsa it was used at the 1st District Republican Conventions of 2000 and 2004 to elect delegates and alternates to the Republican National Convention. I first experienced IRV in college we used it in our fraternity to elect officers.
At the very least, Tulsa needs a runoff in special elections, but it would be better still to use IRV in all elections. As a charter city, Tulsa could choose to do that.
This week, voters in Minneapolis chose to use IRV in municipal elections, the result of a campaign by a "grassroots coalition of political parties, social justice and environmental groups, religious institutions, and others." (List here.) Admittedly, on the red/blue continuum, Minneapolis is just this side of indigo, but I have to believe that some of the handful of conservatives in town liked the idea. (If nothing else, there's the appeal to taxpayers: it saves the cost of runoffs when one candidate fails to win a majority. Maybe Lileks will weigh in one of these days.)
It would admittedly be tricky to adopt IRV to the Oklahoma optical-scan voting system, but surely it's not impossible.
(Via Swirlspice.)Posted at 8:20 AM to Political Science Fiction