Resources for The Vote
Defining Our Terms...
- Instant runoff voting, also sometimes called "Ranked Choice Voting" and "1-2-3 Voting," allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. It is a winner-take-all, constitutionally protected, voting system that ensures a winning candidate will receive a majority of votes rather than a simple plurality. IRV also saves money by eliminating the need for runoff elections.
Instant runoff voting allows for better voter choice and wider voter participation by accommodating multiple candidates in single seat races and assuring that a "spoiler"-effect will not result in undemocratic outcomes. IRV allows all voters to vote for their favorite candidate without fear of helping elect their least favorite candidate, and it ensures that the winner enjoys true support from a majority of the voters. Plurality voting, used in most American elections, does not meet these basic requirements for a fair election system that promotes wide participation, and traditional runoff elections are costly to the taxpayer and often suffer from low voter turnout.
Read more on IRV at www.instantrunoff.com
- Proportional representation (PR) distributes seats in a legislature to parties based on the number of votes each party gets. It is based on the principle that any group of like-minded voters should win legislative seats in proportion to its share of the popular vote. Whereas the winner-take-all principle awards 100% of the representation to a 50.1% majority, PR allows voters in a minority to win their fair share of representation. There is a broad range of PR systems. Some are based on voting for political parties; others for candidates. Some allow very small groupings of voters to win seats; others require higher thresholds of support to win representation. All promote more accurate, balanced representation of the spectrum of political opinion in a given electorate.
Currently there are 41 well-established democracies with at least two million inhabitants and high ratings from the human rights organization Freedom House. Of these 41 nations, only two (the United States and Canada) do not use a form of proportional or semi-proportional voting systems to elect at least one of their national legislatures. Most use full proportional representation for their most powerful national legislature.
Read more on PR from the Center on Voting and Democracy
- Public Financing
- Public Financing of Elections grants to qualified candidates some money to spend on their campaigns, usually with a stipulation that the amount spent and the amount raised from other, private sources be limited.
- The current system used in the United States for most elections, Winner-Take-All elections grant to the winner of a plurality of votes (i.e. more votes than any other candidate, but not necessarily a majority) the full power to represent all those who voted for or against him.
- A system that grants the first candidate to receive a certain number of votes, say, a majority, victory in the race. This method is also frequently used in PR systems, though it often fails to accurately reflect the distribution of votes in a particular constituency.
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