Elections Administration Committee

Instant Runoff Voting

What is Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)?

  • IRV guarantees the winning candidate has a majority of votes, rather than just a plurality.
  • It 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.

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.