Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Arkansas Chooses Ranked Voting for Overseas Citizens and Military

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Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee recently signed into law HB 1770, which allows citizens and military personnel living overseas to vote using ranked voting.

Ranked voting, also known as Instant Run-off Voting, allows voters to rank their preferences. If their first selection gets the fewest votes of all the candidates, their vote goes to their second selection in the next round. If that selection gets the fewest votes in the second round, then their vote goes to their third selection, and so on. The voting continues until one candidate gets a majority of the votes.

Ranked voting is a great way to avoid electing candidates without a majority. It also allows voters to vote for candidates from smaller parties without feeling as though they are wasting their vote.

It is especially useful for overseas voters, who in the case of run-off elections, often don't get and return the ballots in time for their vote to count.

The city of San Francisco recently held elections for the first time using ranked voting. Despite the contention by some that the system would be too difficult for voters to get, the elections were a big success. Amazing what the people of this country can do when you give them the chance.

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