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RCV/IRV Concurrence at NYS Convention 2023

“LWVUS supports electoral systems at each level of government that encourage participation, are verifiable and auditable and enhance representation for all voters.”  LWVUS Position on Electoral Systems.

LWV of PWM is proposing to achieve a NYS position by concurrence with the NYC position on Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), also known as Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)

Quick Links to content below

  • Proposed Concurrence Statement
  • Why Support This Concurrence
  • How Can Your League Support This Concurrence
  • RCV Study Materials (by LWV of PWM)
  • Pros/Cons of Proposed Concurrence
  • Learn More
  • Ask Us, Join Us

Click Here to Register for Education Zoom on February 8th at 7:30pm

Over the past year, advocates for RCV have formed a state-wide committee to

  • Educate local Leagues,
  • Encourage them to concur with New York City’s position on Ranked Choice Voting, and
  • Build momentum to bring this issue to a concurrence vote at the LWVNYS Convention in June 2023

To learn more about the origins of the state-wide committee, read here.

Click on Proposed Concurrence Statement 

The proposed position (the “concurrence statement”)  is a slightly edited version of the NYC position on RCV, as allowed under League rules when a concurrence for one level of jurisdiction, in this case, NYC, will be used by another level, in this case, NYS.

The NYC position is available here

Rationale for adopting this position by concurrence

Most local Leagues use state position in lieu of having their own, and the state position is silent on alternatives to plurality voting (what we use today, except in NYC), Adopting a state position by concurrence will benefit local Leagues who want to support using RCV in local elections. It will also benefit the NYS League to have the position adopted at Convention because it will allow membership to decide without requiring the resources needed for the state League to do a study.

Adopting this position will benefit our Leagues and our communities in all the ways delineated below, and it will particularly benefit socially marginalized groups, under-represented communities, and women to gain elected office, if past experience with RCV proves predictive.

Why support this concurrence

Voting systems that better represent the preferences of the entire electorate, encouraging “sincere” voting rather than “strategic voting” — that is, that allow voters to cast ballots for their favored candidate rather than against the candidate they least favor — result in more candidates throwing their hats into the ring and a greater diversity of winners.

Other benefits include

    • RCV eliminates the need for runoff elections
    • 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 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 lead to more diverse and representative elected officials. There is some evidence of this in cities using RCV.

In 2020, the LWVUS adopted by concurrence an Electoral Systems position (available here) that lays out critical principles for assessing electoral systems.  Notably, plurality voting (or first-past-the-post), which is used for most US elections (at federal, state, and local levels) fails many of these. While no voting system satisfies all of them, RCV/IRV offers most benefits and fewest issues.  The principles articulated in the US position are:

    • Encourage voter participation and voter engagement
    • Encourage those with minority opinions to participate, including under-represented communities
    • Are verifiable and auditable
    • Promote access to voting
    • Maximize effective votes/minimize wasted votes
    • Promote sincere voting over strategic voting
    • Implement alternatives to plurality voting
    • Are compatible with acceptable ballot-casting methods, including vote-by-mail

How can your League support this concurrence?

  1. Have your League respond before March 1st to the LWV of NYS Convention Program Recommendations survey— to Question 4 on the form (which reads:  “Does your League wish to propose a new program item for study or concurrence?”).
    Answer with whatever other item(s) your League may wish to propose plus the following sentence OR answer with just this sentence:

We propose adopting a NYS position on Ranked Choice Voting by concurrence with the League of New York City’s position, adjusted to be state-wide.

Note that including this language does not bind your League (or its delegates) to vote to adopt the concurrence.  By answering this way, you will be asking for the issue to be discussed and voted on at the convention.

  1. Ask the NYS RCV Committee for educational materials and/or a presentation to your League prior to March 1st or prior to the convention.  Email RCV4NYS@gmail.com

  2. Hold a concurrence within your League with the NYC RCV position so you can advocate for local elections immediately — if you would like advice on doing this, please email RCV4NYS@gmail.com.   Our Committee has assisted several NYS local Leagues do this.

RCV Study Materials (by LWVofPWM)

To read more about LWVof PWM process of concurring with NYC, please click here.

Pros/Cons of Proposed Concurrence

Available here.  (Still in draft form.  Suggestions welcome)

Learn More

Review information on LWVofPWM website page on Electoral Reform

Go to these websites

Excellent information on Election Reform can be found at FairVote
This is a good educational overview video of the history of RCV and how it work
A couple of addtional alternatives to plurality voting – Approval Voting and Star Voting
A League ally in non-partisan advocacy for RCV in NYS – Ranked Choice NY. The national parent org is Rank The Vote

Watch YouTubes on

LWVofPWM YouTube Channel

FairVote YouTube Channel

ASK US, JOIN US

Whether you have a couple hours a month (or much more), whether you know voting reform is something you care about (or you have doubts but want to learn), or whether there is some other aspect of voting reform you want to educate and advocate for — we’d love to hear from you.  Email RCV4NYS@gmail.com

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