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Instant Gratification (IRV)

In Atlanta on November 3, 2009 at 1:28 AM

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is a form of voting where candidates are ranked in order by individual voters. An initial vote occurs upfront as usual in this arrangement. If no single candidate captures a majority in the first round of voting, then an automatic round two kicks in, instantly accounting for the remaining rankings so that a new winner is named quickly and with broadened citizen support.

Click here for more information on IRV.

Cities throughout the U.S., ranging from San Francisco, California to Takoma Park, Maryland, are currently implementing this cost effective style of voting. And according to InstantRunoff.com, a site known for tracking such usage, Minneapolis, Minnesota plans on implementing the format in this year’s November elections.

Recalling the Martin-Chambliss Senate runoff from last November, Atlantans may recall just how diminished the turnout can be in a Georgia runoff event, as currently arranged.

The New York Times, recalling that runoff in 2008, estimated that 3.7 million people voted in the initial Nov. 4 election, while little more than 2 million voted in the subsequent runoff. Click here for the article. That represented a roughly 45% drop in turnout.

Local political observers are suggesting that the Atlanta mayoral race, scheduled for phase 1 tomorrow, will likely enter later stages this year, due to a highly competitive and spendful race featuring politicians with deep money coffers.

For a sense of perspective, Georgia Common Cause, the organizational watchdog group, catalogued campaign contributions for the 6 registered candidates running for mayor this year. My graphic attached provides a snapshot of who is pulling in the largest amounts of cash so far, as of records compiled through September 2009. Impressively, the total sum in contributions raised across all 6 candidates registers above $2.4 million in these figures.

Any predicted runoff to follow will expectedly require additional time and resources in the form of personelle costs, forfeited labor hours and added traffic congestion, as was the case in the Martin-Chambliss scenario.

It is time for consideration of an instant runoff voting arrangement in Atlanta.

mayor

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