Monday, September 15, 2008

now, this would shake things up: instant run-off voting

While I was campaigning at the IU Student Involvement Fair last Tuesday, I ran across two booths on election reform, including efforts to allow for "instant runoff voting" and the "popular vote" election of the President.

The latter has advantages (e.g., candidates would be more likely to pay attention to voters in safe states) but disadvantages as well (e.g. candidates would be more likely to pay attention to voters in areas with more population density). In a word: although intriguing, I don't see the benefits outweighing the costs.

The former is much easier to defend: candidates would always win by majority rule and third-party candidates would not play the part of "spoilers". (Or the flip side: people who are more pragmatic and less principled in their voting would not be as worried about "wasting" their votes.) For a flash drive presentation of this, click on this presentation from

Another interesting alternative: allowing each party to have seats proportional to the percentage of votes they receive. For example, if Libertarians get 1% of the vote for Congress, they would receive 1% of the seats.


At October 1, 2008 at 8:02 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I share your enthusiasm for instant runoff voting. However, there is one problem. A lot of people don’t know what it is or how it works. I am trying to solve this problem with a website called TheVotingSite is a place where users can create and share content. Basically, users create surveys and elections. Other users vote in these surveys and are able to watch the instant runoff voting results in action. I think this is a great way to educate the Youtube and Facebook generation about instant runoff voting.


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