Instant-runoff voting (or IRV) is a voting system used for single-winner elections in which voters can rank candidates in order of their preference. In an IRV election, if no one candidate receives a majority of first choice votes, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated, and ballots cast for that candidate are then redistributed to the remaining candidates according to the ranked preference that the voter has indicated. When the votes are tallied, should no candidate reach the required 51 percent of votes that would ensure an actual mathematical majority then the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and those votes are reapplied to the remaining candidates based on the number 2 choice as indicated by the voter.
With IRV, no longer is the voter asked to select one "lesser of two evils" and, in the case of the major-party, oftentimes low-turnout primaries, we would be left with a candidate that best represents the choice of the people.
Instant-runoff voting would invigorate the election process, as it would afford the voter the chance to vote by picking the candidate they honestly feel would be the best person for the job and not get caught up in worrying about a wasted vote or who they think is might be the winner. This would be a great way to get people back into the political process.
Instant runoff voting is much fairer than the current “vote for one” system. It would surely shake-up Rhode Islands political landscape.