11. IRV is simple for voters to use


When the IRV system is first explained, some assume it will be complicated for voters. However, to effectively utilize the system voters have no need to learn any of the intricacies of the transfer tabulation methodology, just as hardly any citizens really understand how the electoral college works (with recourse to election by Congress with one vote per state in the event of no majority). Among students who answered a survey question after participating in mock elections using IRV, 91% said the balloting was not too difficult and 90% said their state should switch to IRV.

While it is true that any change in the status quo will require a voter education effort, there is nothing inherently complex in the votersí role in IRV. Americans are well acquainted with the procedure of ranking preferences on survey forms, for favorite sports teams, movies or other things. International experience, and the experience in the 23 U.S. cities that have used some form of preference voting this century, shows that ranking candidates is a task easily grasped by the electorate. Voters in countries using IRV or PR preference voting, such as Australia, and Malta, which have 95% voter participation rates, donít find it difficult. Citizens in Australia, Malta, and Ireland are not smarter than Americans, nor do those nations have levels of literacy significantly higher than most of the U.S. Northern Ireland adopted the use of a preference ballot in 1998 as part of the peace plan, and experienced minuscule occurrence of spoiled ballots with a far higher voter participation than in the United States.

The voter education campaign necessary to ease the transition would cost only a fraction of the amount states currently spend "educating" citizens to buy lottery tickets. Also, due to the nature of such a campaign, unlike lottery advertising, free public service announcement slots would almost certainly be made available by the state media.