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Now HERE Is a Bill by a Virginia Republican I Can Enthusiastically Support — Instant Runoff Voting


I don’t often agree with legislation sponsored by Virginia Republicans, but this bill by Del. Nicholas Freitas (R-30th), providing for “Instant Runoff Voting” (IRV) ” in elections for statewide offices, the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and the General Assembly” looks like a winner to me.

For an excellent explanation regarding why IRV “should be a thing,” see Dave Leichtman’s post from 2014. Here’s an excerpt:

Preference balloting enables what’s called an “Instant Runoff.” Normally, in a single-election election, if you require the winner to achieve a majority of votes (as opposed to the commonly used plurality) and nobody does, it’s necessary to call a second runoff election. Asking people to vote twice incurs more costs, more voter fatigue, and reduces turnout. But if you allow voters to specify who their vote would go to in the event of a runoff, you enable an instant runoff. You can determine who gets a majority by reallocating the second-preference votes for voters whose candidates were eliminated in earlier rounds of balloting.

This is, in essence, more “free and fair.” Asking that a winning candidate receive a majority (or at least, in this case, a majority of preference votes), helps unify voters behind that candidate through investiture. It also simply increases the number of people who produced the result – a critical component when you consider that in a place like Arlington, the Democratic primary is likely to decide the general election.

A “no brainer,” right? Seems like it to me. So…does anyone have a strong counterargument to IRV? If so, I’d be interested in hearing it — because I definitely haven’t heard it yet.


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