United Kingdom May Adopt IRV for Next Year's Elections


British home secretary Alan Johnson and several other leaders of the United Kingdom's governing Labor Party are proposing instant runoff voting for elections to its House of Commons, potentially augmented with proportional voting. Seen by many as the heir apparent of the Labor Party, Johnson announced his support for a national referendum on adoption of the “Alternative Vote plus” electoral reform plan recommended in 1998 by a commission led by Lord Roy Jenkins. The alternative vote (the British term for IRV) would be used to elect most seats, with additional “top up” seats elected based on voters’ overall party preferences within regions. Not all Labor leaders support proportional voting, but there is a growing consensus to adopt IRV -- with some calling for its adoption in time for the general election next year.

Update: The debate over electoral reform in the UK has gone all the way to the top, as Prime Minister Gordon Brown took to the House of Commons to set forth a long list of political reforms, including his intention to offer proposals for changes to the electoral system -- discussions of which are believed by many analysts to include the measures mentioned above such as IRV.

Other Resources:

Rob Richie's link-filled blog on British news
Jenkins Commission Report
British Electoral Reform Society
VoteForChange - Coalition backing a national referendum

Pro-IRV Op-eds by

Alan Johnson
David Lipsey
Peter Hain