Instant Runoff Voting for electing Cincinnati’s Mayor

The Southwest Ohio Green PAC supports the instant runoff voting (IRV) form of choice voting for mayoral elections and other single-seat elections. IRV is a more democratic system than the Cincinnati mayoral primary system because IRV allows voters to choose from the entire field of candidates at the general election. IRV allows each voter to fully express his or her preferences by ranking their choice of candidates. Guided by the Green Party’s core value of grassroots democracy, we believe that the ballot should accommodate as many candidates as wish to run to give voters as much of a choice as possible. Some of IRV’s other benefits are: 

– It selects a winner supported by a majority of the voters from a field of multiple candidates in a single election. 

– It would allow Cincinnati to eliminate its costly and undemocratic Mayoral primary. The September primary costs the city over $200,000 and artificially narrows the field to two candidates based on the choices of a much smaller group of voters. If the primary vote is sufficiently divided among more than four candidates, the top two candidates may win with a combined total of less than half the votes. 

– It encourages higher voter turnout in November, because more voters will be able to vote for candidates they support. (The September mayoral primary will eliminate all but two choices for the November ballot.) 

– It encourages more positive campaigns because candidates will want to be considered for second-choice rankings by the supporters of their opponents. Less mudslinging will alleviate some of the stigma associated with politics and give voters a better chance to evaluate the candidates on the strength of their positions. 

– It solves the “spoiler” problem inherent in plurality elections. Each voter can rank the candidate he or she truly supports first without inadvertently helping to elect a candidate he or she does not support. Minor-party and independent candidates can organize their campaigns around issues without the distraction of the “spoiler” label, and the first-choice vote totals will accurately reflect how much support they have.

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