8. IRV reduces the number of "wasted votes"

"Wasted" votes are a particular problem with the single seat winner-take-all plurality elections common in the U. S. Many votes can be described as "wasted." Voters who vote for a most preferred candidate that turns out to have no chance of winning, not only waste their vote, but may actually inadvertently contribute to the election of their least preferred candidate due to a splitting of the vote. But there are many other "wasted" votes. Voters who vote for a lower preference candidate under the mistaken impression that their first choice candidates couldn’t win will feel the votes were wasted when it turns out the favored candidate might have had a good chance after all. IRV eliminates this kind of "wasted" vote problem.

However, IRV does not alleviate other types of "wasted" votes. The Voters of party A who live in a district that is overwhelmingly dominated by party B voters may feel their votes are wasted since they never get to help elect a representative. Voters who support the dominant party B may also feel their votes are "wasted" as they are not needed. The feeling of these voters that they are "wasting" their votes certainly discourages voter participation in the U.S. Such noncompetitive districts (often a result of gerrymandering) are common throughout the U.S. and Vermont. With IRV, up to 49% of voters may feel their votes were wasted, whereas with our existing plurality rules, a significant majority of voters may feel they "wasted" their votes.