Florida Instant Runoff Voting (2008)

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Florida Instant Runoff Voting did not appear on the November 4, 2008 statewide ballot in Florida as an initiated constitutional amendment. IRV is a voting system for single-winner elections that guarantees majority winners in a single round of voting. The proposed measure would have allowed voters to vote their hopes instead of their fears by ranking candidates in order of preference without worrying about spoiler dynamics or wasted votes. IRV also eliminates the need for low-turnout, high-cost runoffs.[1]

Ballot summary

The official Ballot Summary for the initiative was:

Requires general elections to be determined by a majority of votes cast using the Instant Runoff Voting method. Enables voters to rank all of the candidates for an office in order of preference: first, second, third, etc. Votes are then counted in rounds until one candidate emerges with a majority of votes cast. Enhances voter representation by allowing multiple choices and eliminates the "wasted vote" and "spoiler" effect of minor party candidates.

Support

This initiative was sponsored by the Coalition for IRV in Florida. The chief proponent nationwide of Instant Runoff Voting was FairVote, an organization chaired by former independent presidential candidate John Anderson.

Supporters argued that Instant Runoff Voting encourages higher turnout and voter participation, allows voters to vote for their first choice without risking "wasting" their votes, and would save the cost of having separate runoff elections.

Opposition

Opponents claimed that IRV does little to fix the problems it identifies with the plurality voting method, that IRV would tend to keep the same two-party system entrenched, and that candidates would still be elected without true majority support.

Both the Minnesota Voters Alliance and the Libertarian Reform Caucus posted articles on their web sites in opposition to IRV.

Status

The initiative was approved for circulation by the Florida Secretary of State. To be placed on the ballot, 611,009 valid signatures needed to be submitted by January 25, 2008. This measure did not make the ballot.

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