MAY's Washington DC Event

On July 1, 2004, The Center for Voting and Democracy held a demonstration election at an event held by Mobilizing America's Youth (MAY).  In this election, voters used Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) to select John Kerry's Vice Presidential running mate for the next presidential election.

A total of 56 votes were cast in our demonstration election.  IRV requires that a candidate win a majority (50% plus one) of votes in order to win the election.  In this case, the threshold to surpass was 29 votes.  This chart details the process we used to count votes in this IRV election for Vice President.  Also, here is a summary of each round of ballot counting:

  • Round 1: In the first round of counting, John Edwards had the lead with 17 votes.  He was followed closely by Hillary Clinton with 13 votes, John McCain with 9 votes, and Howard Dean with 8 votes.  Bill Richardson won 3 votes, while Russ Feingold and Wesley Clark both had 2 votes.  Finally, Richard Gephardt and John Lewis came in last, each with 1 vote.  Because no candidate received a clear majority, the candidates who tied with the least votes, Gephardt and Lewis, were eliminated and their votes redistributed.

  • Round 2: With the votes redistributed, Richardson and McCain each gained one vote. At this stage, the standings were Clark and Feingold with 2 votes each, Richardson with 4 votes, Dean with 8 votes, McCain with 10 votes, Clinton with 13 votes, and Edwards still in the lead with 17 votes.  Because Feingold and Clark tied for last place in this round, they were both eliminated.

  • Round 3: After Feingold and Clark were eliminated and their votes redistributed, Edwards picked up 2 votes and Dean and McCain gained 1 each.  Edwards held the lead position with 19 votes and was followed by Clinton with 13, McCain with 11 and Dean with 9 votes.  With only 4 votes, Richardson was eliminated.

  • Round 4: Richardson backers slightly favored Edwards over Clinton.  After Richardson was eliminated, Edwards gained 3 votes and Clinton gained 1 vote, giving Edwards a total of 22 votes and Clinton a total of 14.  McCain followed with 11 votes, while Dean was eliminated with 9 votes.

  • Round 5: Dean's supporters evenly split their second-choices between Edwards and Clinton who each picked up 4 votes. As the fifth round ended, Edwards had 26 votes, Clinton had 18, and McCain was eliminated.

  • Round 6: Those backing McCain heavily favored Edwards over Clinton.  With McCain out of the race, Edwards picked up 7 votes, giving him a total of 33 votes and making him the winner.  Clinton gained three for a second-place finish of 21 votes.