Takoma Park Unveils New Voting Method

Released January 29, 2007

Takoma Park, MD -- On Tuesday, January 30th, Takoma Park will use Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) to fill a vacant city council seat in Ward 5. The Takoma Park city council unanimously adopted IRV in 2006 after IRV earned the support of 84% of voters in a November 2005 advisory referendum. This will be the city's first opportunity to use IRV since the reform was adopted.

What: Takoma Park Ward 5 Vacancy Election using IRV

Where: Columbia Union College, Wilkinson Hall, 7600 Flower Avenue

When: Tuesday, January 30th, 7am to 8pm

Why: Visit the City of Takoma Park website for official election information.

IRV ensures majority winners in a single round of voting. Voters rank candidates in order of preference. If a candidate receives a majority of first choices, he or she is elected. If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest first choices is eliminated and votes cast for the eliminated candidate now count toward voters' second choices. This process continues until one candidate receives a majority. With three candidates contesting Tuesday's election, Ward 5 voters will be able to express their true preferences by ranking candidates without worrying about spoiler problems or candidates winning with less than a majority of the vote.

IRV has become a popular election reform around the country in recent years. It is used for local elections in San Francisco and Burlington (VT) and for overseas military voters in South Carolina, Arkansas and Louisiana. Minneapolis, Oakland and a number of cities and counties in North Carolina are all in the process of implementing IRV for use in the next few years.


For information or comment on this event, contact Ryan Griffin at (301) 270-4616 or rgriffin@fairvote.org.