Magazine article The American Prospect

Instant Ideas. (Networks)

Magazine article The American Prospect

Instant Ideas. (Networks)

Article excerpt

ELECTORAL REFORM IN CONGRESS MAY have a positive impact for those pushing instant runoff voting (IRV). With nearly $3 billion likely to be flowing to the states to modernize voting equipment, IRV has become technically feasible.

In an IRV system, voters have the option to rank as many candidates as they wish--their favorite candidate first, their next-favorite second, and so on. If no candidate is the first choice of more than half the voters, the ballots are redistributed to reflect voters' second and third choices until someone wins a majority of the ballots and is declared the winner.

This alternative voting system, promoted by the Center for Voting and Democracy (www.fairvote.org/irv) has gained more political appeal in the wake of the last U.S. presidential election, because voters want to be able to register preferences for independent parties and candidates without being seen as spoilers. Supporters in states and cities where IRV is being considered tend to be those most disenfranchised by the current plurality system--not only the independent parties, but some major parties, like the Democrats in New Mexico, who have been losing close races to Republicans partly became of support for Green candidates. …

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