Kavanagh and Krueger Call for Instant Runoff Elections

October 7, 2009

Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined State Senator Liz Krueger on October 7, 2009 to call for renewed consideration of their bill, A.03281/S.3584, that would establish a pilot program for instant runoff voting in local elections. In an instant runoff voting system, voters rank candidates for an elected office in order of their preference. If no candidate receives a majority of first-place ballots when results are tallied, the lowest ranking candidate is eliminated, and that candidate’s votes are redistributed to each voter’s next choice. This procedure continues until a single candidate receives a majority of the vote. Instant runoff voting eliminates the need for expensive, poorly-attended runoff elections held on a separate day, increases voter turnout, encourages candidates to focus on issues and their own merits rather than attacks on their opponents, and ensures that the winner has true majority support.

“Instant runoff voting is the best alternative to our current system of low-turnout, high-cost runoffs. IRV would preserve and expand our commitment to elections where the winners represent the will of the people to the greatest extent possible. And the voting machines we are already implementing throughout the state could easily accommodate this innovative, cost-effective reform,” said Kavanagh.

The bill has been referred to the Election Law Committee in the Assembly. Kavanagh chairs the Assembly’s Subcommittee on Election Day Operations and Voter Disenfranchisement.