LWV of PWM Concurrence Meeting with NYC on Ranked Choice Voting
All members are encouraged to participate:
What is concurrence and why participate?
Concurrence is a process through which Leagues can adopt a new position without doing their own study because another (trusted) League has done the study.
In this case, NYC has studied the issue and our Electoral Reform Committee is asking PWM to adopt NYC’s position by concurrence.
If the consensus of the LWV of PWM members is to concur, our League will be adopting the NYC position
A year ago, our LWV of PWM adopted the 2020 US Electoral Systems position by concurrence. The US position articulates principles for selecting voting systems, all of which the NYS position on RCV aligns with.
What is the LWV of NYC position on Ranked Choice Voting?
Here is the proposed position:
- We support ranked-choice voting (sometimes called “instant runoff voting”) in all local elections, including primaries, specials, and general elections.
- Voters should have the option to rank at least three and at most six candidates for a given office.
- The counting should cease to reallocate votes once a candidate receives over 50% of the current round’s vote.
- RCV/IRV should happen in lieu of any head-to-head runoffs that might otherwise have occurred.
- Adequate funding should be provided for training, equipment, staff, and voter education.
Here are the questions our League will discuss to reach consensus (agree/disagree):
“Which system offers more benefit to voters, communities, candidates — the current system or RCV — when multiple candidates vie for one seat in regards to:
- Being aligned with the current LWV of PWM and LWV of US positions on Electoral Systems
- Giving their ballot the most influence over who will represent them?
- Encouraging campaigns to focus on issues rather than personality/mudslinging?
- Ensuring that representative bodies better reflect their communities?
- Encouraging voters to learn more about all candidates and their positions, rather than just considering a single party affiliation or a single issue pro/con?
- Voters in other cities and states that use RCV appear to understand and like the system, and cities like Santa Fe reported increased voter confidence in the quality of the result. Voters are also able to express their preferences more fully than they would with the existing system.
- Observers in other cities with RCV report reduced negative campaigning.
- While we strongly recommend ample funding for logistical and educational needs, RCV has been run in Maine on a shoestring budget, so it is cost effective, particularly in comparison to the 2009 and 2013 Public Advocate regular runoffs, which cost $13 million with single-digit voter turnout.
- There is no clear effect on voter turnout, suggesting the lack of a negative consequence on that front.
- There is modest evidence for RCV leading to an increase in elected officials that are female or people of color.
LWVNYC’s Listing of Benefits from Ranked Choice Voting
- RCV gives you more say in who gets elected. Even if your top-choice candidate does not win, you can still help choose who does. Your preferences are reflected in the outcome.
- RCV may lead to more diverse and representative elected officials.There is some evidence of this in cities using RCV.
- Eliminates the need for runoff elections
- RCV arguably promotes more civility and less negative campaigning. Candidates who are not your top choice still need your support as your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th choice, giving them an incentive to appeal to a wider audience.
- RCV may reduce polarization of the electorate by removing the current advantages some campaigns derive from tacking to the extreme
Read the Position & Study materials
Watch a recent discussion by LWV Advocates from CA, FL, IL, WA, DC, NYC for Election Reform Video on RCV sponsored by LWV Rogue Valley (OR) and LWV Sacramento (CA)
Read about our LWV of PWM Advocacy Committee on Electoral Reform (and RCV)