Illinois Poll Shows Support for IRV
FairVote, in partnership with the Midwest Democracy Center and Roosevelt University,on Feb. 20-22, 2004 conducted a telephone poll in Illinois heading into the state's March 16 primary. The poll included several questions directly about instant runoff voting.

Here is a preliminary review of results. There also was a news article in the Daily Herald (IL).

Our poll was done with 550 Democrats and 550 Republicans. We asked for second and third choices in both the U.S. Senate primaries (each major party has large fields of candidates), in the Democratic presidential primary and, for Republicans, for president in the general election.

We asked four questions measuring support for instant runoff voting. Here are the results. Note the strongest support was for using IRV for general elections for the President.

1. In some previous primary elections, the winner has earned less than 50% of the vote because votes are spread among several candidates. Are you comfortable with the current way of voting, which can result in a
non-majority winner, or would you like to see changes that would better assure that the winner is supported by more than 50% of primary voters?
         Comfortable with current way of voting-  54%
         Would like to see changes - 41%
         Don't know - 5%

2. In some parts of the United States, voters can pick both a first-choice candidate and a second-choice so that its easier to know which candidate has majority support. Would you like to have the option to pick a first-choice candidate and a second-choice candidate when you vote in Illinois primaries?
         Yes - 47.0%
         No  - 46.5%
         Not sure - 5%

3. Would you like to have this option when electing mayors and local elected officials?
         Yes  - 44%
         No  - 51%
         Not sure  - 5%

4. When electing the U.S. President, each state has a certain number of Electoral College votes. In Illinois, all the Electoral College votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in the popular election. Would you like a second choice option to better ensure that the winner of Illinois Electoral College votes has the majority support of Illinois voters?
          Yes - 50%
          No - 41%
          Not sure  - 9%

* Fully one-third of voters admit to being likely to switch from their favorite choice in the primary if they perceive that candidate would not have a chance to win. That shows the self-fulfilling power of voter perception that can boost  the power of the media and of polling and increase the odds for candidates who have the resources to spend money early and get attention as a front-runner.

* The survey of second choices had useful nuggets, showing an unofficial alliance among supporters of the top two front-running Democrats in the Senate primary -- which could lead to attacks between those campaigns, as they're going after similar voters -- and showing just how solid John Kerry's support now is in the Democratic presidential race.

* You can see the full survey here. Also posted there is FairVote's initial analysis, done in conjunction with James Lewis of Roosevelt University

Illinois Drive to Revive Cumulative Voting

In 1999 the Institute for Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) at the University of Illinois received a major grant to conduct a study of the impact of the state's conversion from cumulative voting to single-member districts in 1980. The IGPA formed a task force to analyze different electoral systems and make recommendations. Co-chaired by former Republican governor Jim Edgar and former Democratic Congressman and federal judge Abner Mikva, the task force members included leading state legislators and civic leaders.

The task force has called for reviving cumulative voting, and the Institute for Government and Public Affairs has issued an excellent report about their deliberations and the history of cumulative voting in the state. The Illinois story is a testimony to the impact of even very modest full representation plans. In this case, it still required close to 25% of the vote to win a seat in a in three-seat district, but this change was significant for a broader range of political forces to participate in elections, win representation and contribute to good policy-making.

Read the executive summary of the report here (pdf)
April 7th 2009
Chicago's Special Election is a Waste: Fill Vacancies in One Election, Not Two
Huffington Post

Former FairVote analyst Dan Johnson-Weinberger says Illinois should fill vacant house seats in a single election. Among his proposed solutions is instant runoff voting.

March 2nd 2009
Instant democracy available in instant runoff elections
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn proposes insant runoff voting as a solution to the problems that plague the current special election to fill Rahm Emmanuel's vacated House seat.

February 25th 2009
More economical solution to costly special election

FairVote Democracy Fellow Erik Connell details the pitfalls of runoff elections: cost and low turnout. He advocates instant runoff voting as the solution to these problems.

July 31st 2008
Why Aurora needs a mayoral primary
The Beacon News

Commentary urges Aurora (IL) to consider instant runoff voting.

June 14th 2008
Ballot moves could pre-empt town meeting
Urbana/Champaign News-Gazette

News article on effort by IRV activists to place measure on November ballot.

June 1st 2008
Instant replay? Activist group seeking second chance at placing advisory questions on ballot
The News Gazette

An Urbana (IL) group is seeking a special meeting of the Cunningham Town Board to consider putting the adoption of IRV for city primary and general elections on the Nov. 4 ballot.

January 22nd 2008
Political game on road to President XLIV far from super
Daily Herald

Illinois columnist indicates the potential spoiler dynamic in presidential primary elections and how instant runoff voting could solve this problem.

October 2nd 2007
Urbana group seeking switch to instant runoff voting
The News-Gazette

IRV may be on the ballot in Urbana (IL), saving taxpayer funds and ensure majority support for elected officials.

September 28th 2007
Let the most popular candidate win
Christian Science Monitor

FairVote's chairman explains why instant runoff voting improves our political discourse and does away with the "spoiler" label for independent candidacies. (Also appeared in publications such as the Chicago Sun Times and Raleigh News and Observer)

May 9th 2007
Frerichs' bill to help absentee voters passes
The News-Gazette (IL)

Illinois Senate unanimously approves legislation to protect the rights of overseas voters through the use of ranked ballots.

March 2nd 2007
Davlin, McNeil call for change to primary
Springfield (IL) Journal-Register

Springfield may adopt IRV to help military and overseas voters.

December 25th 2006
'Instant Runoff' Voting Touted
Los Angeles Times

Article citing FairVote's work and instant runoff voting wins covers the history of proportional voting in the United States and the growing interest after ballot victories in Davis (CA) and Minneapolis (MN).

November 13th 2006
Local Green candidates look forward to next steps
The News-Gazette- East Central Illinois

Green Candidates in central Illinois gain support for reforms such as Instant Runoff Voting from many sources, including Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden.

May 30th 2006
'Instant Runoff' idea is gaining momentum
The Herald News

Illinois local paper touts the merits of IRV and references FairVote as one of its major promoters.

May 11th 2005
AccuPoll Receives 2002 Federal Election Commission Voting System Standards Certification

New certified voting equipment is IRV compatible

February 27th 2004
Poll shows support for 'instant runoff'
Daily Herald

March 30th 2003
Voice of the people
Chicago Tribune

FairVote's Dan Johnson-Weinberger comments on the practicality of instant runoff voting in this Letter to the Editor.

February 27th 2003
Poll shows support for 'instant runoff'
Daily Herald

The adoption of instant runoff voting (IRV) in Illinois would ensure that candidates win by a majority. Electoral reforms such as IRV represent voter intention more precisely than the current system.

November 11th 2002
Instant runoff voting
The Decatur Daily

November 15th 2001
Illinois Student Government Adopts Proportional Representation

University of Illinois Students Vote for PR and IRV

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