The summer of IRV

by Jack Santucci // Published July 23, 2006
San Francisco, CA - SFSU's Public Research Institute has issued a comprehensive analysis of exit polls from the city's 2005 instant runoff elections. It was the second city-wide use of IRV and, for some voters, their third experience with the system.
  • Voters three times more likely to say IRV was easy rather than difficult,
  • Voters preferred IRV over old two-round runoff system by three-to-one margin
  • Nearly half showed up not knowing they were to use IRV, yet only 2.7% found it "very difficult."
  • A majority said they understood IRV "perfectly well", 86% at least fairly well and only 3% not at all.
  • African-American voters were the most likely to rank three people in the contested assessor-recorder race.
  • Among voters saying it was easy to rank three candidates (about three times those saying it was difficult), the highest percentages for saying it was easy were those with less than high school degrees, and a higher percentage of African-Americans than whites.

[Public Research Institute's Final IRV Report (PDF)] [San Francisco Ranked-Choice Voting website]

Oakland, CA - City council members on July 18 voted 6-2 to place IRV on the November ballot.

[Oakland IRV] [PolySigh blog post on Oakland IRV campaign]

Pierce County, WA - Charter Review Commission members on June 17 put IRV on the ballot for county elections. Implementation would come in 2008. The move partly targets low-turnout party primaries, a problem around the country. Parties would use private conventions or caucuses to nominate one or more candidates for each office, but voters would have a full range of choice among all candidates in one high turnout, spoiler-free general election yielding a majority winner.

[IRV Washington] [Pierce Co. Charter Review blog]

Minneapolis, MN - City Council members voted 11-1 on May 26 to submit to voters a charter amendment on IRV for city elections.

[Better Ballot Campaign] [FairVote Minnesota]

North Carolina - The state senate on July 19 passed bipartisan legislation (H1024) to use instant runoff voting to fill judicial office vacancies and to let 10 cities and 10 counties try IRV in 2007-2008.

Get involved! Check out FairVote's IRVictories campaign.