Instant Runoff Voting
What is instant runoff voting (IRV)?
- IRV guarantees that the winning candidate has a majority of votes, rather than just a plurality
- Eliminates the popular notion that voting for a “third party candidate” is a “waste of a vote.”
- IRV has the voter rank their candidates by preference (first, second, third choice, etc.).
- These rankings provide the means to initiate a second round of recording ballots if no candidate receives a majority of the votes after voting officially closes.
- It is very important to rank all candidates for IRV to be as accurate and effective as possible.
What’s the difference between a “plurality” and a “majority”?
- A “plurality” means that the candidate with the most votes wins, as in most of our elections.
- A “majority” means that the candidate with over 50% of the votes wins
- When there are three or more candidates for one elected position, it is possible for the candidate who receives the plurality of votes to still get a “minority” share of the votes (less than 50%).
- IRV is initiated to ensure that all ASUW elected positions are elected with a majority of the votes.
Why do ASUW Elections use instant runoff voting?
- While no voting system is perfect, IRV is generally considered the best method of voting when there are more than two candidates running for an elected position.
- IRV serves as an accurate measurement of the overall support for a candidate.
- The Elections Administration Committee encourages all voters to rank all candidates during ASUW Elections to ensure that IRV is as accurate and effective as possible.
How does IRV work?
- If anyone receives a majority of the first choice votes, that candidate is elected.
- If this does not occur, the candidate who receives the overall ranking of last place is eliminated, just as in a runoff election.
- The ballots are then counted again.
- This time, when a ballot is counted that has the recently eliminated candidate chosen as the first choice, the second choice candidate listed receives the vote.
- This process of eliminating the last place candidate and recounting ballots continues until one candidate receives a majority of the vote.
If you have questions please contact the EAC Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.