Miami-Dade County Needs Instant Runoff Voting

The Florida Initiative for Electoral Reform (FLIER) believes that democracy, and the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County, would be well served by the adoption of instant runoff voting. FLIER calls on Miami-Dade mayoral candidates to support the reform.
May 27, 2011 - PRLog -- In December 2008, Miami-Dade County spent $3 million on a runoff election for Property Appraiser. The turnout was just 7%. The money could have been saved and a majority winner could have been elected in a single round had the county implemented instant runoff voting. Additionally, the method would have provided greater empowerment to voters and results that better represent their views. However, despite the lessons of that election, Miami-Dade County has still not implemented this reform.

Subsequently, in light of the recent May 24th mayoral election resulting in no winner with a majority of the vote, the county will be spending another several million dollars on a runoff election. The turnout on May 24th was less than 16%. The Florida Initiative for Electoral Reform (FLIER) calls on both candidates in the June 28th runoff, Julio Robaina and Carlos Gimenez, to establish their credentials as constructive reformers by supporting implementation of instant runoff voting for all single-winner county elections.

How does instant runoff voting work? FairVote offers a concise breakdown:

“First round of counting: The voters rank their preferred candidate first and may also rank additional choices (second, third, etc.). In the first round of counting, the voters’ #1 choices are tallied. A candidate who receives enough first choices to win outright (typically a majority) is declared the winner. However, other candidates may have enough support to require a runoff – just as in traditional runoff systems.

Second round: If no one achieves a clear victory, the runoff occurs instantly. The candidate with the fewest votes is removed and the votes made for that candidate are redistributed using voters’ second choices. Other voters’ top choices remain the same. The redistributed votes are added to the counts of the candidates still in competition. The process is repeated until one candidate has majority support.”

Sometimes referred to as ranked choice voting, this system is already successfully used in San Francisco, Oakland, Minneapolis, among other municipalities and counties, as well as judicial elections in North Carolina. Australia and Ireland even use it for national elections. The positive results are significant; less negative campaigning, less dependence on money, no "spoilers" or “wasted” votes, and no need for costly runoffs. Democracy, and the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County, would be well served by the adoption of instant runoff voting.

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The Florida Initiative for Electoral Reform is a non-partisan coalition of groups and individuals recognizing the need for electoral reforms to enrich and expand democracy in our state and its localities. In addition to advocacy, we seek to provide education on electoral reform and the policy solutions necessary to realize it. We are working towards a vibrant democracy with accessibility for the average person, a competitive political environment, and pluralism in policy and decision making. For more information please visit http://www.floridaelectoralreform.org or e-mail info@floridaelectoralreform.org.
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