Assessing Instant Runoff Voting in Takoma Park (MD)

Adam Bartolanzo // Published March 29, 2007

Takoma Park (MD), a suburb of the District of Columbia, adopted instant runoff voting (IRV) in 2006 after it won 84% approval in an advisory ballot measure on November 8, 2005. Residents first used the system in a city council vacancy election in Ward 5 on January 30, 2007. Three candidates sought to fill the vacancy. FairVote conducted an all-day exit poll, surveying 39% of total voters. Key findings include:

  • Only one invalid ballot and two voter errors in any rankings.
  • Over 80% of voters used two or more rankings.
  • Public education led to over 83% knowing they would use IRV.
  • Over 88% thought IRV was easy to use.
  • Over 55% thought the campaign under IRV was less negative than under winner-take-all.
  • Over 88% wanted to use IRV in future elections.