Instant-Runoff Voting: Giving the Underdog a Chance

Many folks complain about the rigidity and sameness of the two-party system American system of government. Unfortunately, it’s damn hard for a third party candidate to win, because most people feel like they’re throwing their vote away when they vote for the third party guy.

Instant-runoff voting (IRV) to the rescue! (PS: It’s also called “ranked choice voting” in some places). Instead of picking just one person, you have the option of ranking any number of the available options. So, for example, if you’re a Republican, instead of voting for just Romney, you might rank the candidates in the following way:

  1. Ron Paul
  2. Romney
  3. Gingrich
  4. Santorum

If none of the candidates have more than 50% of the vote, then the other choices start coming into play. For more details check out the wiki page.

Unlike our current system, IRV gives the voter confidence to choose candidates they actually want even if it seems like they have no chance of winning, because such a choice will not damage the chances of others. A republican might vote for a Ron Paul and a democrat might vote for a Bernie Sanders (not that he is running).

The instant-runoff voting system is one of those things that obviously needs to be embraced but isn’t for some godforsaken reason. Another example of one of those things is the metric system.

It has a chance of being put into place for the 2016 presidential election. Unfortunately, all the organizations pushing for it are having quite a bit of trouble raising funds. The biggest that I know of is FairVote.org and they’ve only raised $400,000 last year. How are they supposed to buy influence in Washington with that kind of cash 😉

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