Over this past year more schools across the country implemented or voted to
adopt IRV for their school elections. Most recently, The
University of Minnesota voted in IRV to be used next year. The University
of California at Davis (UCD) used IRV for the first time this year with
Conducting instant runoff
Improving student government
elections contains all the information you
need for a successful election, including downloadable files for
printing out the packet.
Promoting fair elections
If you are interested in pursuing instant runoff
voting on your campus, please see our student IRV activist
kit (.rtf format). The information in
this packet will guide you through an evaluation of your school's
election processes and provide a step-by-step guide to
We also have a brochure on improving student
government elections, which is also available in black and
white (both are .pdf files).
Instant runoff voting elects a
single candidate supported by a majority of the votes. If you
would like to elect several people to a representative body, such as
a student council, and you want the entire body to reflect all the
voters, we suggest considering the use of full representation
systems like choice
The California Institute of Technology
The Associated Students of the California Institute of
Technology use IRV to elect their Vice President (Board of Control
Chairman), the Board of Control Secretary, and the Interhouse
Committee Chairman as outlined in Article VIII, Section 4 & 5 of
Carleton College (Northfield, MN)
IRV had long been in the school's
constitution, and was rediscovered when a student activist requested
the student government change its voting system.
- Read an account of how one student put instant runoff
voting back into use at Carleton.
- The Carleton
Student Association webpage has descriptions of its
use of IRV including the computer scripts used for tallying
College of William and Mary
The Student Assembly at the College of William and
Mary in Williamsburg, VA approved IRV for all student elections.
Clemson University's Undergraduate Student Senate has IRV for its
internal student senate officer elections. For the Offices of
Senate President, Pro Tempore, Secretary, and Clerk, IRV will
Students use IRV to elect student members of the board
Duke Student Government will elect their six executive
committee members through instant runoff voting. After approving the
system for this spring's elections, officials have since
decided the ballot counting procedures will not be ready until
Fall 2004. Read coverage of the change from The
Franklin Elementary School (Berkeley CA)
In November 2001, students in grades K-6 used instant
runoff voting to elect the leader of their school, the
City of Franklin Elementary.
The Graduate Dormitory Council, Graduate Music Forum and Graduate
Student Council all use IRV for their internal
executive position elections.
Hendrix used IRV for the first time during the
2003-2004 academic year. Voter participation doubled and
students were happy that the results were immediate.
Johns Hopkins University
JHU used instant runoff voting for its Freshman
student council elections for the first time in the fall of
Luther College in Iowa adopted IRV in the Spring of
2003. At first, the Student Government used IRV only for
electing the president, vice-president and secretary, but this will
be expanded to include class representatives to the student senate.
IRV was adopted in Spring 2003 for the election of
executive positions on the Student Council. Use of IRV has
expanded to become the preferred method of voting for all one-seat
elections, such as a special election to replace a resigning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT uses instant runoff
voting for all of their student government elections including
president, vice-president, class councils
and student senate. Their website includes detailed breakdowns of the transfer of
votes in each election since 2000.
Student Government uses instant runoff voting for its
Senatorial and U-Council elections. See Article VII Section D
of their Constitution.
The Rice Student Assembly uses IRV to elect the
members of their Executive Committee. The most recent election for
President included six candidates and 11 rounds of voting.
The Reed Student Body Elections Code (as amended in
April 2001) provides for IRV in their Presidential,
Vice-Presidential and Quest Editorial Board elections.
Sonoma State University
After the adoption of IRV by San Francisco for city
council elections, the students of Sonoma State University decided
to move to IRV themselves. Elections will start in the
2004-2005 academic year.
In 2001 they adopted instant runoff voting
for their council President election, and the following spring the
Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) held its second
IRV election of its president, and for the second year in a row,
avoided a costly and inconvenient runoff election. See results and
a copy of the online ballot. IRV also
received good press in the student newspaper. The April 16 top story was an
explanation of how IRV works and why it was adopted, accompanied by
a flow chart . The April 16
edition of the paper also included an editorial.
Tufts student body
approved a new constitution for the Tufts Community Union. IRV was
included in the new version both for the presidential election and
the internal election of committee chairs. Read the approved revisions
University of California
UCB uses IRV and a choice voting system to elect
their officers. Their voting procedures are outlined
in Article VII, Section 5 of their Constitution.
University of California at Davis
On February 20, 2004 students at UCD voted 67%-33% to use
choice voting for Associated Student Senate elections and IRV for
presidential elections. The California Aggie reports
on the change.
Voting increases meaning of votes." UC-Davis
student touts the university's new choice
voting system for student elections. November 25, 2003.
California Aggie: "UCD students get first look at
'choice voting." Choice voting to be used in student elections at
UC-Davis. November 11, 2003.
"ASUCD Senators should educate student body, not change the
system." The Senate votes to keep choice voting after their
second election using the system.
University of California at Los
The Graduate Students Association executive officers,
including the president and vice presidents on internal, external
and academic affairs, are all elected through IRV.
University of California at San Diego
After the Associated Students formed a Voting Systems
Task Force to study the benefits of 10 different voting methods, IRV
was chosen as best option for electing their executive officers.
Read a press
release about the move. IRV was used for the
first time during the 2003-2004 academic year.
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
The Student Government uses instant
runoff voting for executive offices. 2002 was the first
election under these voting rules, look here for more information. The open
party list form of proportional representation is also used for
UMD's primary campus voted in the spring of 2002 to
use IRV to elect its student government. Read editorials
about the decisions from February 2002
and April 2002
University of Minnesota
In April 2003, the students of UMN voted to adopt IRV
with a whopping 75% of the vote. The MPIRGs and other campus
organizations campaigned hard to generate support for this
change. Elections with IRV will begin during the 2004-2005
University of Virginia
Board of Elections, established in 2003, staged a mock 2004
US presidential race using IRV. Pitting incumbent George W. Bush
against a half-dozen challengers, the election resulted in a 3.2%
margin of victory for senator John Kerry (D-MA). Read the Cavalier
of the election.
University of Washington
Graduate Student Government
at the University of Washington has adopted instant
runoff voting for single-winner elections and the undergraduate
student government may follow.
University of Wisconsin
The United Council of University
of Wisconsin Students has adopted IRV to elect the president of its General Assembly, a body of about 150
representatives from schools across Wisconsin. The United Council is the nation's oldest, largest,
and strongest statewide student association, representing over
140,000 students at 24 UW System Campuses.
In September of 2002 Vassar's student government
voted nearly unanimously to adopt instant runoff voting and the
choice voting form of full representation for future student
elections. Read CVD's report on the win
After an especially contentious
delayed runoff election this spring, the WFUSG voted to adopt IRV
for all executive elections.
Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington recently
passed a resolution to use IRV for its single-seat elections and
Choice Voting to elects its Student