TCT: If Madison were to embrace instant runoff voting, which allows voters to rank candidates and transfer support, it would not be possible to avoid separate primary and general elections and hold a signal election to fill the seat
It is about time. I believe this is the first time the Capital Times has endorsed instant runoff voting.
IRV can save Madison thousands and thousands of dollars which are currently needed with the tough budget process. The cost of a runoff election can exceed $50 a vote. It is not only “special elections” where IRV can save Madison money, but also runoff (general) elections for city council, Dane County Board, Mayor, County Executive, and the school board races.
Currently in all these local elections we have 3,4,5 or more candidates running for office in which only the votes of the top two vote getters are counted. If you supported a candidate who came in third, fourth, or fifth, your vote does not count. In a first past the post system only the votes of the top two candidates are counted. In order to correct for this fact, city and county government pays for a whole new election. It is not very difficult to fathom how such a process can get very expensive for both the city and county.
In a typical local election you have a multi-candidate primary with only a fraction of the voters of the general election. In other words, only a small percentage of voters in the general election participated in weeding of the initial candidates. Wouldn’t it be great if there was someway we could just go into the booth, select our preferred candidates, with the end result of an elected official with a majority vote.
Well, that is exactly how IRV works.