We need instant runoff voting

By George Plumb
Published January 4th 2008 in Burlington Times-Argus
There is much important legislation that needs to be worked on when the Vermont Legislature reconvenes next week and one of the most important is a bill that supports more democratically how we can vote. The Instant Runoff Voting bill, S.108, will apply to the U.S. Congress and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch supports the use of IRV in his re-election bid. Passage of this bill, with the governor's support, will enable Vermonters to try out this system of voting and see how it works. It appears that IRV is simple for voters to use as Burlington used IRV in its last mayoral election flawlessly. Now it is time to allow the rest of us the opportunity to use IRV.

IRV assures majority rule rather than simply allowing the candidate with the highest vote total in a multi-candidate race to win. Under existing law, a "winner" might actually be the candidate the majority of the voters consider to be the WORST choice.

IRV is recommended over our current voting method in modern editions of Robert's Rules of Order because it can find a majority winner in a single election no matter how many candidates are running.

The secretary of state has reported there is no need to buy any new voting machines, or change the way ballots are counted locally to implement IRV, since any IRV tally would be done at regional centers after the election. The added cost for this is very small.

George Plumb