Majority rule and genuine voter choice are marks of a functioning democracy. To support voter choice in high turnout elections, we act to encourage understanding, adoption and effective implementation of instant runoff voting, a ranked choice voting system used in a growing number of American elections.

New Victories for Spoiler-Free Elections with IRV
Memphis & Telluride Pass IRV - Pierce County & San Francisco Hold IRV Elections
While the nation's pundit-class waits in suspense to see the final outcome in the final three U.S. Senate races, the so-called "spoiler" problem is rearing its ugly head again. In all three races, independent and third-party candidates earned enough support to deny the final winners a majority of the vote. But this November, Memphis (TN) addressed this problem by overwhelmingly passing instant runoff voting (IRV) by 70% for city races. Telluride also approved IRV handily and will be heading towards implementation.

Meanwhile, Pierce County (WA) and San Francisco (CA) held successful elections using IRV. In Pierce County, the reform is already changing political dynamics, with newspapers endorsing first choice and second choice candidates, and parties running more than one candidate for office without fear of dividing their vote.

[Website for the successful Memphis IRV Campaign]

[San Francisco election results]
[Pierce County Election results]

New Zealand's capital city votes to keep choice voting
Growing number of major cities adopting PR and IRV
New Zealand continues to show leadership in providing its voters with fair representation and meaningful ballot choices. After a three-week postal voting campaign, on September 27th the city of Wellington (the nation's capital and its second largest city) announced that a majority voted to keep the choice voting method of proportional representation for city council elections and instant runoff voting for its mayoral elections. Proponents won based on such arguments as choice voting leading to the election of more women and young candidates to office.

The 5th largest city Dunedin also elects its leadership with choice voting and instant runoff voting, as do several smaller cities, and all the nation's health boards are elected by choice voting -- called "single transferable vote" in New Zealand. New Zealand in 1993 voted to change its parliamentary elections from U.S.-style winner-take-all voting to the mixed member method of proportional representation.

News releases on Sept. 8 and Sept. 18 by Wellington reformers
Wellington 2007 election results
New Zealand government page on choice voting
How New Zealand voted to adopt "MMP"

Strong step forward for ranked choice voting
Illinois gives municipalities the option to use ranked ballots for overseas voters
On August 22, 2008, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed into law SB 439, allowing all municipalities to adopt ranked ballots for overseas voters by ordinance when a primary occurs close to the general election. Overseas voters are often disenfranchised when this happens, because election officials do not have sufficient time to print and mail ballots.  Under the Illinois law, however, military and other overseas voters will rank candidates in the primary election, and their ranked ballots can then be used to determine their vote in the general election. Springfield (IL) adopted this practice via ballot measure with an affirmative vote of 91% last year.  Ranked choice ballots are already in use for overseas voters in Arkansas, Louisiana and South Carolina.  A similar Bill is also currently being considered in California.

FairVote welcomes this reform as a means to ensure the votes of the military and other Americans overseas can be counted, and as a step towards instant runoff voting.  By allowing all voters to rank candidates in order of preference, instant runoff voting could solve the spoiler problem, and eliminate the need for costly primary and runoff elections.  
[Read the Illinois Bill]
[Read the California Bill]
[More on instant runoff ballots for overseas voters]
[More on instant runoff voting]

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Recent Articles
October 30th 2009
Don Fraser and George Latimer: The case for instant-runoff voting is clear
Star Tribune

Two former politicians tell St. Paul voters that IRV is "vitally important to us as citizens and as members of our communities."

October 29th 2009
Plurality voting rule is the real election spoiler
Baltimore Sun

In the midst of 3-way races in NJ and NY, FairVote board member and 1980 presidential candidate John Anderson makes the case for IRV over our flawed plurality system.

October 25th 2009
CHARTER AMENDMENT 3: County voters would lose power
The News Tribune

Amendment 3 to the Pierce county charter is an attempt by incumbent politicians to rig the system and prevent any serious challengers from competing. IRV is simply too fair and too democratic to not keep using in our electoral system.

October 22nd 2009
St. Paul should join IRV bandwagon
Star Tribune

Star Tribune stands behind IRV voting. They believe that if this system is used in St. Paul, it will show the state of Missouri that IRV can work and can better represent the voters in the state.