3. How IRV would work in Vermont
Here is one possible scenario of how such a system could work in Vermont. Voters would have the option of indicating on their ballots their first choice for each statewide office, and who their second, third or subsequent choices are, in case their first choice doesnt win. Local election officials will count the first-choice votes, just as they do now. If no candidate in a race ends up with a majority of first-choice votes, the ballots are retabulated by the court, in a manner similar to how a statewide recount is conducted under current law.
The instant runoff re-count mirrors the vote counts that would occur if all the voters participated in runoff elections, except the voters have no need to return to the polls. The candidate with the fewest votes is declared defeated. In the subsequent count, first-choice votes for candidates still in the running again count for those candidates, but the voters whose first-choice candidate was eliminated have their votes transferred to their second choices - the same as occurs in a traditional runoff. This process of dropping off bottom vote-getters and transferring their votes to their supporters alternate choices continues, until some candidate gets a majority, or only one candidate remains. The description of the re-count process can sound complicated, but in fact, the voters task is simple. The voters just have to rank candidates in order of preference: 1, 2, 3, etc., or, if they prefer, they can still vote for a single candidate as they do presently, they just wont give themselves a second choice in case their favorite candidate is knocked out of the race.