IRV statutory language passed or introduced 1998-2000

IRV legislation can be and has been written several different ways. This report contains 6 examples of legislation that has been passed or introduced in the past couple years. When crafting legislation, there are several parameters to consider:

  • Enabling or implementation and whether or not itÝs contingent on acquisition of compatible equipment
  • Description of ballot-counting: use of ballot transfers or counting ballots in a series of rounds in which each ballot counts as one vote for the highest-ranked continuing candidate on the ballot
  • Bulk elimination of candidates with no chance of winning
  • Tie-breaking
  • Specific local conditions, such as state constitutional provisions and fraud/security

Table of contents

Local Enabling Language 
     Oakland, California (passed March 2002)
     San Leandro, California (passed Nov 2000)
     Oakland, California (passed Nov 2000) 
     Measure F, Santa Clara County, California (passed Nov 1998)
     Amendment 1, Vancouver, Washington (passed Nov 1999)

Local Implementation Language
     San Francisco, California (introduced Oct 99)

State Implementation Language
     New Mexico (passed State Senate Feb 99)
     Vermont
     Alaska (to appear on ballot Nov 2002)

State Enabling Language
     New Mexico (passed three House committee, January 2000)

Local Enabling Language

Oakland Charter Amendment for using a runoff or instant runoff to fill vacancies for mayor, passed by the voters, March 2002

ýSection 303.  Vacancy, Filling of.  Upon the declaration of vacancy in the office of the Mayor, the office of the Mayor shall be filled by the Vice-Mayor of the Council.  Except as otherwise provided in this Section, when the Vice-Mayor of the Council assumes the office of Mayor upon declaration of a vacancy, she/he shall serve for the unexpired term if such term is less than one year; otherwise she/he shall serve until the vacancy is filled as provided herein.  Whenever the period of vacancy in a MayorÝs terms of office is less than one year and the Vice Mayor notifies the Council in writing that she/he does not wish to serve as Mayor for the unexpired term, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment through a majority vote of the remaining Councilmembers; provided the appointee shall be ineligible to be a candidate for the next full term of the Office of Mayor.  If at the time of a vacancy declaration the unexpired term is one year or more, the vacancy occurring in the office of Mayor shall be filled by special election within 120 days of such vacancy.  An extension of up to 60 days may be allowed for the express purpose of consolidating the special election with the next Municipal Election.  If no candidates receives the majority of the votes cast in the special election, then a run-off election shall be held for the two candidates who received the highest number of votes no later than 60 days after the date of the special election; provided that all persons receiving a number of votes equal to the highest number of votes received by any candidate shall also be candidates at such run-off election.  The candidate receiving the highest number of votes cast for all candidates for the office at the run-off election shall be declared elected.  The Candidate elected to fill the vacancy shall hold office for the balance of the unexpired term.  Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section or the Charter, the Council shall have the authority to provide by ordinance for preferential voting procedures as an alternative to a run-off election.  Alternative legal voting procedures shall be used to the greatest extent feasible to increase voter participation in special elections including but not limited to mail ballot voting, electronic voting, and extended voting period.ţ

San Leandro Majority Charter Amendment, passed by the voters, November 2000

ýThe candidate receiving the highest number of votes for the offices of Mayor and Council Members of the City shall be elected to such offices, provided that such candidate receives at least 50% plus one of the votes cast for each such office. In the event that no candidate for such elective office of the City receives at least 50% plus one of the votes cast for that office, the City Council shall provide for a run-off vote to determine the person elected. The City Council shall adopt an ordinance establishing a run-off system. The run-off system may include mailed ballots, an instant run-off voting system when such technology is available to the City, or a special run-off election. The ordinance setting forth the run-off system may be amended from time to time for any reason, but no amendment to the ordinance may take effect less than 103 days prior to any municipal election.ţ

Oakland Measure I - Actual Language Passed by Voters Nov 2000

WHEREAS, Oakland City Charter section 205 provides for City Council vacancies to be filled by appointment; and

WHEREAS, a more democratic method for filling vacancies would be to provide for special elections to fill City Council vacancies by amending Oakland City Charter section 205 and amending Charter section 206 to provide for a vacancy upon the date successful election results are declared when a Councilmember runs for another office for which the Councilmember will take office prior to the end of the CouncilmemberÝs term; and

WHEREAS, section 10400 et seq. of the Elections Code allows for the General Municipal election of November 7, 2000, to be consolidated with the statewide general election to be held on the same date; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED: that the text of the proposed charter amendment shall be as follows:

Section 205. Vacancies, Filling of. All vacancies occurring in the office of Councilmember shall be filled by special election within 120 days of vacancy. An extension of up to 60 days may be allowed for the express purpose of consolidating the special election with the next Municipal Election.

The candidate receiving the highest number of votes at the special election shall be declared the winner and thereafter sworn into office as soon as legally possible.

Whenever the period of vacancy in a CouncilmemberÝs term of office equals or exceeds 120 days the vacancy may be temporarily filled by appointment through a majority vote of the remaining Councilmembers provided the appointee is not a candidate for the office which created the vacancy and provided the appointment does not exceed 128 days or go beyond the date the new incumbent is sworn in, whichever is shortest.

The City Council shall use alternative legal voting methods to increase voter participation in special elections including but not limited to mail ballot voting, electronic voting, preference voting and extended voting periods. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes at the special election shall be declared the winner and thereafter sworn into office as soon as legally possible.

Whenever the period of vacancy in a CouncilmemberÝs term of office equals or exceeds 120 days the vacancy may be temporarily filled by appointment OM-12.through a majority vote of the remaining Councilmembers provided the appointee is not a candidate for the office which created the vacancy and provided the appointment does not exceed 128 days or go beyond the date the new incumbent is sworn in, whichever is shortest.

Alternative legal voting procedures shall be used to the greatest extent feasible to increase voter participation in special elections including but not limited to mail ballot voting, electronic voting, preference voting and extended voting period.

Section 206. Vacancy, What Constitutes. An office of Councilmember shall be declared vacant by the Council when the person elected or appointed thereto fails to qualify within ten days after his term is to begin, dies, resigns, ceases to be a resident of the City or of the district from which he was nominated, absents himself continuously from the City for a period of more than thirty days without permission from the Council, absents himself from any ten consecutive regular meetings except on account of his illness or when absent from City by permission of the Council, is convicted of a felony, is judicially determined to be an incompetent, is permanently so disabled as to be unable to perform the duties of his office, forfeits his office under any provision of this Charter, or is removed from office by judicial procedure. A finding of disability shall require the affirmative vote of at least six members of the Council after considering competent medical evidence bearing on the physical or mental capability of the Councilmember. When a Councilmember successfully runs for another office for which the Councilmember will take office prior to the end of the CouncilmemberÝs term, the CouncilmemberÝs office shall be declared vacant on the date final election results are declared for the new office.

Measure F, Santa Clara County, California. Passed by the voters, November 1998

"Nothing in this Charter shall preclude the Board of Supervisors from authorizing an instant runoff voting system for the November general election, which eliminates the need for runoff elections, when such technology is available to the County."

Amendment 1, Vancouver, Washington. Passed by the voters, November 1999

New Section 9.03 "Instant Runoff Voting Authorized"

(1) Method permitted but not required: Nothing in this charter shall preclude the City Council from authorizing, by resolution, the use of instant runoff voting for the election of city officials in any regular or special election that may be held.

(2) Advance notification required: A resolution authorizing the use of instant runoff voting for an election must be passed at least thirty days before the candidate filing deadline for that election.

(3) Instant runoff voting defined: Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) allows the majority will of the voters to be determined in a single election. Instead of a voter indicating a single choice, each voter indicates his or her first choice, second choice, and so on, for up to as many choices as there are candidates. If a candidate receives a majority of first choice ballots, that candidate is elected. However, if no candidate receives a majority of first choice ballots, the candidate with the fewest first choice ballots is eliminated from contention, and the second choices of those voters whose first choice was eliminated are then counted as first choices. If a candidate now has a majority of the ballots, that candidate is elected. If not this process is repeated until one candidate receives a majority of the ballots or only one candidate remains. Instant runoff voting makes a second round or runoff election unnecessary.

(4) Uniformity required: If instant runoff voting is to be used to elect to any city office then it must be used for all city offices appearing on the ballot during that election.   

 

Local Implementation Language

San Francisco Charter Amendment, introduced October 1999

Section 3. The San Francisco Charter is hereby amended, by adding a new Section 13.102, to read as follows:

SEC. 13.102. RANKED-CHOICE BALLOTS. (a) The Mayor, Sheriff, District Attorney, City Attorney, Treasurer, Assessor-Recorder, Public Defender, and members of the Board of Supervisors shall be elected using a ranked-choice, or ýinstant run-off,ţ ballot. The ballot shall allow voters to indicate their first, second, and third choices among the candidates for each office. In the case of supervisorial elections, the ballot shall allow voters in each district to indicate their first, second, and third choices among the candidates for supervisor in that district. The voter may include no more than one write-in candidate among his or her three ranked choices for each race. (b) If a candidate receives a majority of the first choices, then the candidate shall be declared elected. If no candidate receives such a majority, then the candidate who received the fewest first choices shall be eliminated and each vote cast for that candidate shall be transferred to the next-ranked candidate on that voterÝs ballot. If, after this transfer of votes, any candidate now has a majority of the votes from the continuing ballots, then that candidate shall be declared elected. (c) If no one has been elected after a candidate has been eliminated and his or her votes have been transferred to the next-ranked candidate, then the continuing candidate with the fewest votes from the continuing ballots shall be eliminated. All votes cast for that candidate shall be transferred to the next-ranked continuing candidate on each voterÝs ballot. This process of eliminating candidates and transferring their votes to the next-ranked continuing candidates shall be repeated until a candidate receives a majority of the votes from the continuing ballots. (d) If the total number of votes of the two or more candidates credited with the lowest number of votes is less than the number of votes credited to the candidate with the next highest number of votes, those candidates with the lowest number of votes shall be eliminated simultaneously and their votes transferred to the next-ranked continuing candidate on each ballot in a single counting operation. (e) A ballot shall be deemed ýcontinuingţ if it is not exhausted. A candidate shall be deemed ýcontinuingţ if the candidate has not been eliminated. A ballot shall be deemed ýexhausted,ţ and not counted in further stages of the tabulation, if all three choices have been eliminated or there are no more choices indicated on the ballot. If a ranked-choice ballot gives equal rank to two or more candidates, the ballot shall be declared exhausted when such multiple rankings are reached. If a voter casts a ranked-choice ballot but skips a rank, the voterÝs vote shall be transferred to that voterÝs next ranked choice.   (f) Ties between two or more candidates shall be resolved by lot in accordance with the general election laws of the State of California.

 

State Implementation Language

SJR12, New Mexico. Passed Senate February 28, 1999

SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 12 44TH LEGISLATURE - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - FIRST SESSION, 1999 INTRODUCED BY Phillip J. Maloof

A JOINT RESOLUTION

PROPOSING TO AMEND ARTICLES 5 AND 7 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF NEW MEXICO TO REQUIRE THAT CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE IN ANY PRIMARY OR GENERAL ELECTION OR FOR ANY FEDERAL OFFICE BE ELECTED BY A MAJORITY VOTE, REQUIRING THE USE OF AN INSTANT RUN-OFF VOTING SYSTEM IF NO CANDIDATE RECEIVES A MAJORITY VOTE AND AUTHORIZING THE USE OF RUN-OFF ELECTIONS OR PLURALITY ELECTIONS IN MUNICIPALITIES.

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:

Section 1. It is proposed to amend Article 5, Section 2 of the constitution of New Mexico to read:

"The returns of every election for state officers shall be sealed up and transmitted to the secretary of state, who, with the governor and chief justice, shall constitute the state canvassing board which shall canvass and declare the result of the election. The joint candidates [having the highest number of votes] receiving a majority of the votes cast for governor and lieutenant governor and the person [having the highest number of votes] receiving a majority of the votes cast for any other office, as shown by [said] the returns, shall be declared duly elected. [If two or more have an equal, and the highest, number of votes for the same office or offices, one of them, or any two for whom joint votes were cast for governor and lieutenant governor respectively, shall be chosen therefor by the legislature on joint ballot.] If no candidate or joint candidates receive a majority of votes cast, the winner shall be determined by using an instant run-off voting system as established by law."

Section 2. It is proposed to amend Article 7, Section 5 of the constitution of New Mexico to read:

"A. All elections shall be by ballot [and the person who receives the highest number of votes for any office, except in the cases of the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, shall be declared elected thereto. The joint candidates receiving the highest number of votes for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor shall be declared elected to those offices]. In any primary election, the candidate who receives the majority of votes cast for an office shall be declared nominated. In all other elections, except as provided in Subsection C of this section, the candidate who receives a majority of the votes cast for any office, except in the case of the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, shall be declared elected. The joint candidates receiving a majority of votes for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor in the general election shall be declared elected to those offices. If no candidate or joint candidates receive a majority of votes cast, the winner shall be determined using an instant run-off voting system as established by law. If, after completion of the instant run-off, there is a tie in the number of votes cast for any office, the winner shall be chosen in a manner established by law.

B. An instant run-off voting system is a voting system of single transferable votes that allows a voter the option to rank at least two candidates for each office. The instant run-off elimination shall begin with the candidate who receives the lowest number of votes and all the candidates who receive fewer than one percent of the votes.

C. In lieu of an instant run-off voting system, a municipality may provide by charter or by ordinance for run-off elections or plurality elections."

Section 3. It is proposed to amend Article 7 of the constitution of New Mexico by adding a new Section 6 to read:

"In elections for federal office, the candidate who receives a majority of the votes cast shall be declared elected to that office. If no candidate receives a majority, the winner shall be determined using an instant run-off voting system."

Section 4. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at the next general election or at any special election prior to that date which may be called for that purpose.

Vermont House Bill 1999, introduced 1999

(Included use of the ýrecountţ method, by which 2nd and 3rd choice votes are tallied by conducting a recount of the ballots, which allows for IRV with equipment that cannot accommodate a ranked ballot.

Also includes language on the canvassing committee, definitions of political parties, and so forth.13 pp, double-spaced.)

Alaska initiative, qualified for ballot November, 2002 (unless state legislature acts sooner)

Section 3. Counting of Ballots The first choice votes of each voter for each race shall be counted first. If, after all ballots are counted, a candidate has obtained a majority of the first choice votes for that race, further counting is not necessary, and that candidate is declared the winner. If no candidate has obtained a majority of first choice votes, then the candidate with the fewest number of first choice votes shall be declared defeated, and votes cast for this candidate shall be transferred to the next choice continuing candidate marked on each continuing ballot, and added to that continuing candidateÝs vote total. However, if the total of the votes of the two or more candidates credited with the lowest number of votes is less than the number of votes credited to the candidate with the next highest number of votes, these candidates shall be declared defeated simultaneously and their votes transferred to the next choice continuing candidate marked on each ballot in a single counting operation. If the next-choice candidate has been eliminated, the vote is transferred to the next-choice candidate who is a continuing candidate. After this tabulation, if no continuing candidate receives a majority of the votes, then the continuing candidate with the fewest votes shall be declared defeated. This process of eliminating last-place candidates, transferring ballots from these candidates, and adding them to the totals of continuing candidates shall proceed until a candidate has a majority of the continuing ballots, in which case that candidate is elected, or there is a tie between all remaining continuing candidates. If, in any election, a ballot has no more available preferences stated, that ballot shall be declared exhausted and shall not be counted further. A ballot assigning the same ranking to more than one candidate for an office shall be declared exhausted when the double ranking is reached. If, in a primary election, a voter ranks a candidate in a particular race outside of the party for which the voter has cast the first-choice vote, then that ballot will be declared exhausted with respect to all subsequent rankings for that particular office. If a ballot skips a ranking, then the next ranking shall be counted. If there is a tie between candidates, the procedures of AS 15.15.460 shall be followed.

Section 8. Definitions ýContinuing ballotţ means a ballot that is not exhausted. ýContinuing candidateţ means a candidate who has not been eliminated. ýExhausted ballotţ means a ballot which has no more available preferential votes which may be counted.

 

State Enabling Language

SJR12, New Mexico. Passed Senate February 28, 1999

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 4 / SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 11 44th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2000

INTRODUCED BY Mimi Stewart

A JOINT RESOLUTION

PROPOSING TO AMEND ARTICLES 5 AND 7 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF NEW MEXICO TO ALLOW FOR, BUT NOT REQUIRE, RUNOFF ELECTIONS IN ALL ELECTIONS.

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:

Section 1. It is proposed to amend Article 5, Section 2 of the constitution of New Mexico to read:

"The returns of every election for state officers shall be sealed up and transmitted to the secretary of state, who, with the governor and chief justice, shall constitute the state canvassing board, which shall canvass and declare the result of the election. Unless a runoff election system is provided by law, the joint candidates having the highest number of votes cast for governor and lieutenant governor and the person having the highest number of votes for any other office, as shown by said returns, shall be declared duly elected; and, if two or more have an equal, and the highest, number of votes for the same office or offices, one of them, or any two for whom joint votes were cast for governor and lieutenant governor respectively, shall be chosen therefor by the legislature on joint ballot."

Section 2. It is proposed to amend Article 7, Section 5 of the constitution of New Mexico to read:

"All elections shall be by ballot. [and] Unless a runoff election system is provided by law, or in the case of municipalities, by ordinance, the person who receives the highest number of votes for any office, except in the cases of the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, shall be declared elected thereto. The joint candidates receiving the highest number of votes for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor shall be declared elected to those offices, unless a runoff election system is provided by law."

Section 3. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at the next general election or at any special election prior to that date which may be called for that purpose.