Instant Runoff ballots set in Cary

Published July 7th 2007 in News and Observer

From Staff Reports

Cary voters will get a more complicated ballot this October under a new voting system that town leaders hope will save money and time.

The town will use a system called Instant Runoff Voting, which asks voters to pick their first choice for an office and also backup choices. Cary voters will be allowed to rank candidates in order of preference -- first, second and third.

The ranking system should prevent the need for runoff elections, which Cary estimates will save the town about $62,000.

The Wake County Board of Elections runs Cary's elections, and the method could spread to other towns if it is successful. Cary is Wake's second-largest city.

Although runoffs are costly, they usually don't draw many voters.

"We've seen some very low turnouts in runoff elections, which means only a tiny portion of the electorate is choosing a final winner," John H. Gilbert, chairman of the Wake election board, said in a statement Friday, as filing for local offices opened.

Cary officials say their town is the first in North Carolina to try the system, although towns and cities across the nation are using it. San Francisco adopted the system in 2004.

Visit for more information on the method.