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?

  1. If anyone receives a majority of the first choice votes, that candidate is elected.
  2. If this does not occur, the candidate who receives the overall ranking of last place is eliminated, just as in a runoff election.
  3. The ballots are then counted again.
  4. 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.
  5. This process of eliminating the last place candidate and recounting ballots continues until one candidate receives a majority of the vote.

Instant Runoff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have questions please contact the EAC Chair at asuwvote@uw.edu.