Florida, Wisconsin and all states need Instant Runoff Voting!
By Jack E. Lohman
Will Wisconsin’s new Republican leadership give the voters what they want and need, Ranked Choice Voting (or IRV)? Will Governor-elect Scott Walker sign it if it gets to his desk?
When Bill Clinton attempted and failed to get Kendrick Meek to drop out of the Florida race for U.S. Senator, nobody had the foresight to say “Wait a minute, Instant Runoff Voting would solve the problem!”
Hell, they could have benefited from that even in 2000 when Ralph Nader took votes from Al Gore and Pat Buchanan took votes from George Bush! When will we learn???
There *IS* a better way!!!
Here’s how IRV would have worked in this particular race with three or more candidates:
- Marco Rubio (R)
- Charlie Crist (I)
- Kendrick Meek (D)
- None of the Above
Now pick your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices. If Meek comes in last his votes are moved to the other two candidates in the order of the voter’s choice. If you voted for Meek and he lost, your vote would go to your second choice. Your vote is therefore not wasted, and nobody has to strategically drop out of the race.
Importantly, if None of the Above wins the majority of votes, the race is canceled and a new race must be run with all new candidates!
In Wisconsin’s own 77th Assembly district the final results were:
- Hulsey , Brett Dem 49%
- Manski , Ben Grn 31%
- Redick , David GOP 19%
- Olson , David CST 1%
- None of the Above
What would have happened with a system like IRV? We’ll never know who would have won, but we do know that all of the voters would have had their votes better represent their choices. No votes would have been “thrown away.”
Why wouldn’t IRV be good?
Because it makes sense, and is fair and effective and politicians don’t like fair and effective.
- Current R’s and D’s prefer the 50% odds they currently have, and they do not want third parties or independents in the mix.
- IRV would allow people to vote without the fear of throwing their vote away. Current politicians don’t like that.
- It would allow people to first vote for a third party or independent, and if that person did not win their vote would apply to the lesser of the other two evils (obviously, R’s and D’s don’t think they are evil!).
- It would give third parties and independents a “chance,” and politicians don’t want this additional competition.
But the people do want competitive races, and would sometimes like to vote for a third-party candidate. One would think that the people count more than the politicians, but they don’t usually. How many Meek votes would have otherwise gone to Crist? How many people voted for Meek because they didn’t want to throw their vote away?
Note that if this ballot is too confusing, vote for only one candidate and it still works the old fashioned way.
Resource: Instant Runoff Voting