IRV at the Hip Hop
The Center for Voting and Democracy attended the first
annual Hip Hop Convention on June 18th, 2004, in Newark, NJ. We conducted
two mock elections, one for John Kerry's Vice-Presidential running mate, and one
for the favorite Hip Hop artist of all time.
44 ballots were cast for who should be the VP nominee.
Therefore the winner would need 23 votes to have a majority.
Hilary Clinton took the early lead after the first round of voting with
19 first-choice votes, followed by Al Sharpton and John Edwards with 7 each. Jesse Jackson, Jr. was in fourth place with four first choice
votes, and Lyndon LaRouche rounded out the group with three. Coming in last were several write-ins and John McCain with
one vote each. Since no candidate
had a majority, we eliminated the candidates with only one vote and
redistributed them. After the first
instant runoff, Clinton had 20 votes, and Sharpton had 10.
Edwards also gained one. Now
LaRouche was in last place with 3 votes, so he was eliminated.
After the redistribution, Clinton had 20 and Sharpton had 11.
Still, no candidate had the required 23 votes for a majority, so Jesse
Jackson, Jr. now the last place
candidate with only 4 votes was eliminated.
After the redistribution, Clinton had 21 votes, Sharpton had 13, and
Edwards had 8. There was still no
majority, so Edwards was eliminated. After
the final redistribution, Clinton had 25 and Sharpton had 15, with several
ballots having been exhausted, which means all ranked candidates on those
ballots were eliminated. Clinton
now had a majority, and was declared the winner.
Though Clinton had the most ballots from the start, she had no decisive
majority, and was declared the winner because more people preferred her over
We next used the same VP election to demonstrate a choice
election. Imagine that there are
three vice-presidential slots instead of one, and all candidates are running all
at once for these three slots. Choice
voting works just like instant runoff voting, except instead of needing a
majority to win, candidates need to cross a certain victory “threshold”.
Since in this case there are three seats, the threshold is 33%, or 14
votes. So in the first round,
Clinton has 19 first choice votes. She
has crossed the victory threshold, and therefore wins a seat.
She has 5 more votes than she needs, so five of her votes are randomly
selected and redistributed. After
this redistribution, Sharpton has 11 votes, Edwards has 9, Jackson has 5,
LaRouche has 3, and McCain has 2. No
other candidate has crossed the threshold, and so McCain is eliminated.
After the redistribution, Sharpton has 12, Edwards has 10, Jackson has 5,
and LaRouche has three. Again, no
one has crossed the victory threshold and so LaRouche is eliminated.
After the redistribution, Sharpton has 13, Edwards has 11, and Jackson
has 5. There is still no winner, so
Jackson is eliminated, putting both Sharpton and Edwards over the victory
threshold. The three VP slots go to
Hilary Clinton, Al Sharpton, and John Edwards.
Finally, the moment you have all been waiting for, who is
your favorite hip-hop artist? 40
ballots were cast, so a majority of 21 votes was necessary to win.
After the first count, Tupac Shakur had 10 first choice votes, Lauryn
Hill had 8, Run DMC had 5, Missy Elliot had 4, Eminem and Outkast both had 3
each. Additionally, there were several write-ins with one vote apiece.
If this were a regular plurality election, Tupac would be declared the
winner. However, since he doesn’t have
a majority, we employed the rules of choice voting and eliminated the last place
candidate and redistributed their votes. All
of the write-ins with only one vote were eliminated and their votes move to the
second choice. After that tally,
Tupac had 12, but is followed closely by Lauryn Hill with 11 votes.
Run DMC had 5 votes, and Eminem, Missy Elliot, and Outkast all had 4
votes. At this point, there was a
tie for last place. Since Outkast
had fewer votes than the other in previous rounds, he was eliminated. After the redistribution, Lauryn Hill took the lead with 14
votes, Tupac had 13, Run DMC had 5, and Eminem and Missy Elliot both had 4.
There was still no majority, so Eminem and Missy Elliot were eliminated.
Lauryn Hill then claimed the lead with 19, Tupac with 16, and Run DMC
with 5. Run DMC was now eliminated.
After the final redistribution, Lauryn Hill had 22 votes and Tupac has
18. Lauryn Hill now had a majority
and was declared the winner of the mock election. Although Lauryn Hill did not have the most first-choice
votes, she won the election because more people preferred her over Tupac Shakur.
In a very crowded field such as this one, instant runoff voting is the
best system for determining who has the most overall support.
Click here for
an Excel chart detailing the IRV count for VP
here for an Excel chart detailing the IRV count for the Hip Hop Artists.