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Forum Post: Instant Runoff Elections are Another Way to Reform Our Troubled Election Process (Here is an LA Example of an Election Improvement Project for IREs)

Posted 12 years ago on Jan. 28, 2012, 6 a.m. EST by JIFFYSQUID92 (-994) from Portland, OR
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Instant Runoff Elections are Another Way to Reform Our Troubled Election Process (Here is an LA Example of an Election Improvement Project for IREs)

Click here for site: http://www.lavotefire.org/

What do you think? Are there projects in your cities, too? Why aren't we all over this?

Los Angeles Voters For Instant Runoff Elections


Let's Improve Our Elections ... We can have elections that are more fair and let us more fully and freely express our preferences when we vote.

L.A. VoteFIRE is a countywide civic improvement project.

Our task is to give people the opportunity to vote on simple city and county charter amendments that would improve our future elections by making them Instant Runoff (IR) elections.

Public officials have begun to endorse having IR elections.

Click here to see how you can help.

Why IRE?

There are two main reasons why Instant Runoff elections are better than what we have now, even if in most cases they would not change who wins.

  1. Instant Runoff elections are more fair than the currently common plurality rule election method ("whoever gets the most votes wins"), which can allow someone to win a single-winner election without majority support. A spoiler candidate or vote-splitting among similar candidates sometimes produces that unfair result.

By requiring a candidate to get a sufficient fraction of votes (a majority in a single-winner election, or a smaller, yet still unbeatable, fraction in a multi-winner election) to win, and by considering the rank order of voters' preferences, Instant Runoff elections protect against spoilers and vote-splitting, and thus provide more fair results.

Despite substantial costs of time and money, some municipalities (including the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District) have a separate "primary" election that chooses two candidates who advance to a "general" election if no candidate gets a majority. Because spoilers and vote-splitting can easily affect a two-winner election if voters only get to "Vote for One," an Instant Runoff would be a much more fair way to select two candidates for a separate final election, if such an election is really desired.

  1. Instant Runoff elections let voters more fully and freely express their true preferences among candidates. Instead of just allowing voters to pick one candidate (in a race with one winner), IR election ballots let voters rank candidates in the order they prefer them (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, and so on). Because it is highly unlikely that a spoiler candidate or vote-splitting will determine the outcome of a race -- see reason #1, above -- voters have little need to be concerned with strategic voting, and are freed to express the true order of their preferences on the ballot. This can foster innovation within our democracy, and encourage new people to participate and vote, as voters can use top rankings to demonstrate support for candidates who may be unpopular so far but are championing new ideas.

Heard of IRV?

Instant Runoff elections use what's called "Ranked Voting" or "Ranked-Choice Voting."

This means that voters rank candidates as they prefer them (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, 4th choice, and so on). Voters record their rankings on the ballot when they vote.

This voting system is often called "Instant Runoff Voting" (IRV) in single-winner elections, or "Choice Voting" in multi-winner elections. (Single-winner elections fill unique positions, such as City Councilmember from the 7th District. Multi-winner elections fill several equivalent positions. Burbank, for example, does not have city council districts, and holds multi-winner elections to fill several council seats at a time.)

Ranked Voting, Ranked-Choice Voting, Choice Voting and IRV are all names for the modern voting system used in Instant Runoff elections. The Instant Runoff election system, including voting and counting, is known worldwide as the system of the Single Transferable Vote.

No matter what you call it, it's "easy as 1-2-3!"

Want to Help?

Current Actions FOR YOU TO DO

(If you live in Los Angeles County)

  1. Sign up for the L.A. VoteFIRE email list, if you're not on it yet.

2A. Get endorsements! Please take this endorsement form to public officials in Los Angeles County.

2B. Endorse! If you are a public official, please sign this endorsement form.

Send signed endorsement forms to L.A. VoteFIRE, 1255 Federal Ave. #304, Los Angeles, CA 90025, or fax to (310) 496-3073. Click here for the current endorsements page.





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