Instant Runoff Voting

Since there’s all this interest in voting in California, you might want to take a moment to get to know the proposed Instant Runoff Voting idea. It won’t make it into this recall election, but it should.

The basic idea is that instead of having just one vote for one candidate, I rank them in order of preference. If no candidate gets a 50% majority, low-scoring candidates are knocked out of the race from least to most, and their votes are reallocated to each voter’s next choice. This repeats until one candidate has a 50% majority.

The point is to keep votes from being “split”, basically wasted when two similar candidates lose to a dissimilar candidate. (see Gore v. Nader v. Bush) Since the winner always gets a majority vote in a runoff, it also adds legitimacy to the win. It would be a big help in the recall race, because I can easily see the vote split among a dozen of the 135 candidates, with the “winner” squeaking by with 10-20% of the vote.

Too bad we won’t get it in time. Perhaps by the 2004 elections…