Saturday, October 29, 2016

Ranked Choice Voting

A new electoral method is beginning to appear under the name of “ranked-choice voting” or instant-runoff voting (it's been used in Australia since 1918 for its parliamentary elections).

It consist of offering electors faced with a choice of at least three candidates to vote for them in order of preference. It's very useful when no candidate receives the majority of the votes in a traditional election, and it saves the cost and time of a run-off.

Another advantage of that system is that it could lead to a more civil tone during campaigns, as candidates might be less likely to use attack ads and bash their opponents. This could also be seen as a more democratic process, as the winner is more likely to have been supported by most of the electorate.

The system's downsides is that voting machines must be programmed accordingly or changed, which obviously could be a major expense. Another disadvantage is that it adds confusion to the whole process, as voting for the same position requires three choices, and requires to compute votes on election night.

Early November, Maine voters will decide whether or not to adopt the Ranked Choice Voting system. If it's adopted state-wide, we'll soon be able to measure how good it is...

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