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.

Charlottesville Democrats Use IRV in Successful �Firehouse Primary�
Looking to keep their local nominating caucus to one single election and ensure majority support for their nominees for office, the Democratic Party of Charlottesville, Virginia used instant runoff voting for the first time on May 9 in their privately-financed “firehouse primary.” Voter participation quadrupled from the party’s last caucus, besting even the most optimistic estimates for turnout.

Charlottesville weekly The Hook declared that the results had “shaken the local Democratic establishment.” In the race for city council nominees, an incumbent council member was taken out of the running. For the contest for sheriff, meanwhile, a majority was not reached on the first tally, but IRV allowed the caucus-goers to reach consensus without having to return to the polls.

Local Coverage:


[Blog post on Charlottesville caucus]

Aspen Holds First Instant Runoff Voting Election
Incumbent Mayor Ireland Retains Seat While Two Challengers Win in City Council
AspenThe city of Aspen held its first election using instant runoff voting on Tuesday, May 6. Incumbent Mayor Mick Ireland defeated challenger Marilyn Marks in the fourth round of counting, 53%-47%. In the City Council race, challengers Derek Johnson and Torre unseated incumbents Jack Johnson and Jackie Kasabach. Aspen is one of only two municipalities in the country, along with Hendersonville, NC, to use instant runoff voting for mutli-seat elections.

Of the race, the Aspen Times said: "We...have been impressed with the professionalism displayed in the City Council race. All candidates have treated each other respectfully during these stressful times, and it has not gone unnoticed." This is likely due to the fact that candidates do not want to alienate other candidates' supporters under IRV, as second choice votes can sometimes be key to emerging victorious. The race also brought in an unusually high number of candidates; 4 for the Mayor's race and 9 for the City Council. This is likely due to the fact that candidates do not have to fear being labeled "spoilers" under IRV elections. Finally, the race had a record turnout, with 2,554 voters, or 45% of those eligible.


New Report Highlights FairVote Reforms
Barriers to Participation Exist, Despite High Turnout
A new report by the Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network, titled, “America Goes to the Polls: A Report on Voter Turnout in the 2008 Election,” highlights the need for several FairVote reforms, including a national popular vote for president, greater uniformity in election administration, instant runoff voting, and universal voter registration. The authors recommend setting federal standards for running elections, introducing ranked choice voting to promote competition and implementing automatic voter registration, where Election Day Registration is a national standard. The report cites FairVote’s “Shrinking Battleground” series that tracks campaign visits and spending throughout the 2008 election cycle, concluding, “the winner-take-all and balkanized dynamics of the Electoral College have a negative impact on voter turnout.” In the forward, George Mason University Professor and Brookings Fellow, Dr. Michael P. McDonald, writes, “a national popular vote for president may hold the key to further increasing American voter participation.”

[America Goes to the Polls]
[FairVote’s Shrinking Battleground]
[National Popular Vote for President]
[Professor McDonald’s U.S. Elections Project]

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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.