Change voting system to make it easier

Democracy is priceless, but elections are expensive. New York City can save $20 million by moving from our two-round runoff system for citywide races to Instant Runoff Voting.

This guarantees majority winners in a single election by allowing voters to rank the candidates in their order of preference — first, second, third, etc. — on the first ballot, rather than making them return to the polls two weeks later.

Voting is a privilege, one too many people gave their lives to secure and preserve, but voters with limited mobility, senior citizens, parents of young children and workers with two or more jobs find it difficult to get to the polls at all, much less twice in as many weeks.

Overseas and military voters are almost completely disenfranchised in runoff elections, as there often is not enough time to mail a ballot and have it returned. That is why several states already use IRV for those voters.

The counting process is simple. First-choice ballots are tallied on Election Night, just like now. If any candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, he or she is declared the winner. If not, the candidate with the least support is eliminated.

Voters who ranked that candidate now have their vote counted for their second choice, and all ballots are recounted in an instant runoff. This process repeats until one candidate has majority support.

IRV is easy as 1, 2, 3.

Lynne Serpe


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