14. IRV accommodates more candidates without vote splintering


IRV completely eliminates the problem in our existing system of multiple candidates splintering constituencies resulting unrepresentative outcomes. Our existing winner-take-all plurality voting system provides a powerful disincentive for offering voters a range of choices. With current plurality rules, a third party candidate entering a race is most likely to help the candidate furthest from the third party’s perspective, thus alienating potential supporters. In some cases, third parties have attempted to use this reality as a blunt instrument to extract concessions from major parties. The threat of running a candidate may elicit a change in a major party candidate’s position, but only if the threat is plausible. New Mexico is a place where this threat is more than merely plausible, with the Green Party now regularly denying Democrats what they may consider their "rightful" election in liberal districts. Since IRV eliminates this splintering effect, some third parties likely will feel freer to run candidates and voters will feel freer to vote their true preferences. This may be perceived as undesirable by major party leaders who do not understand the new dynamic of IRV. Multiple candidacies are only a problem if we use our existing plurality rules. With plurality rules, third parties are considered dangerous both to the major parties as well as to fair election outcomes (due to the vote splintering effect). So, while IRV may open the door to third party candidacies, at the same time it eliminates the problem that third party candidacies may create in our existing system.