WITH IRV VOTING, DO I HAVE TO VOTE FOR MORE THAN
It depends on exactly how the IRV voting system is implemented. In the most common implementation you only have to vote for a candidate in the first column, and indicating additional preferences in the remaining three columns is optional. In Australia, which uses IRV for all its elections, under the name Preferential Voting, this is called Optional Preferential Voting. We might call it Optional IRV Voting. Under this optional IRV voting, there is not a lot of point in a person voting for a Republican or Democratic candidate indicating additional preferences, as their first choice will almost certainly still be there in the final runoff count anyway. On the other hand, a Green or Reform voter needs to indicate at least one extra preference if they want their vote to count in the final runoff between the Democratic and Republican candidates. For instance, if a voter marks the Green candidate in the first column, and the Democratic candidate in the second column, and leaves the next two columns blank, then his or her vote will fully count as a Democrat vote in the final runoff count (and they will not waste their vote and be a Democratic "spoiler" as a Green Party voter does under the current plurality voting system).
Unlike abolishing the electoral college, which would require a constitutional amendment, Instant Runoff Voting can be brought in on a state-by-state basis, simply by passing ballot measures. The Republicans already have enough signatures in Alaska to place a measure to use IRV in Alaska on the 2002 ballot. The Democrats in New Mexico are likewise hoping to introduce IRV in that state. The introduction of IRV is very do-able, and no constitutional impediments stand in its way.
No. Small parties benefit from it, but so do the major parties, as it prevents small party candidates becoming ‘spoilers’ and sabotaging the victory of the major party which has the majority of the support in the state. Republicans in Alaska like IRV because the Alaskan Independence Party split the conservative vote and this led to a Democratic governor being elected in a very conservative state.
Since Al Gore and the Democrats just lost a presidential election they would have won with IRV, they should be strongly in favor of it.
Go to the Center for Voting and Democracy web site: fairvote.org - and learn more about it.
Parties are better off winning the races where they have majority support, so they have public opinion behind them as they implement their agenda.
Here are some websites about IRV and other voting reform initiatives. (These websites will open in new browser window.)The Center for Voting and Democracy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Takoma Park, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.InstantRunoff.com was created and is managed by the Midwest Democracy Center, a Chicago-based non-profit organization dedicated to making our government more democratic and representative.CPR's primary purpose is to promote and work toward the implementation of Proportional Representation at all levels of governmental and even non-governmental bodies, and often works with the Center for Voting and Democracy (CVD), a national organization with similar aims.