Alaska instant runoff voting

Alaska instant runoff voting

On Tuesday, 
Alaska voters decide whether to use instant runoff voting (IRV).  If it passes, and it looks like it could, Alaska will be the first state to go to IRV.  This could be big, and lead to other states going to it too.

IRV has many useful benefits.  Among other things, it eliminates runoff elections and (Are you listening Democrats) the spoiler effect.  San Francisco recently went to IRV as did most town hall meetings in Vermont.  It has been widely used in other countries for decades.

In IRV, you vote for as many candidates per office as you want, ranking them in order of preference. If no candidate gets more than 50%, then the lowest ranking candidate on each ballot is dropped, and that vote goes to the next highest choice.  And so on, until one candidate gets over 50%.

This means no runoff elections are needed.  It also means people can freely vote for third party candidates and not worry about the spoiler effect.  In Florida in 2000, let’s say all those who vote for Nader as their #1 choice voted for Gore as their #2 choice.  Nader would have been eliminated in the first round and those votes would have gone to Gore, who would then have won Florida and the Presidency.

IRV is an idea whose time has come.  See our Green Party page for more on IRV

(I must parenthetically add that Gore, of course, did win the Presidency but it was stolen from him by disqualification of black voters in Florida and by the Supreme Court)

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