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What is Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)?

By Voting YES ON PROPOSAL B on November 2, 2004, you can help bring Instant Runoff Voting to Ferndale!

INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING is explained in detail at the website, along with a flash presentation of how it works and other information. It is an election system that solves many problems that have plagued our elections in recent years, such as:

  • NON-MAJORITY WINNERS - When more than two candidates run for a single seat, or many candidates run for only two or three seats, voters may split their votes, putting a candidate into office with less than majority support. In fact, Ferndale's mayor won in 1991 with only 43% of the vote. That means that 57% voted for someone else!

  • CANDIDATES DISCOURAGED FROM RUNNING FOR OFFICE AND CALLED "SPOILERS" - When a candidate who cannot win him or herself gains enough support to throw the election to a candidate only supported by a minority, he or she is called a "spoiler". Because of this potential, many candidates are discouraged from running for office. We have heard a lot about this problem in recent years as Ross Perot and Ralph Nader "spoiled" presidential elections.

  • WASTED VOTES - In the current system, if a voter votes for a candidate that does not end up being one of the top vote-getters, that vote may as well never have been cast at all, since they will then have no say whatsoever in determining the ultimate winner of the election.

  • EXTREMELY LOW VOTER TURNOUT - Ferndale has had remarkably low voter turnout, one of the lowest in all of Oakland County. This problem also exists throughout the country.

  • NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING - Campaigns are often run based on attacking opponents, rather than telling voters the candidate's positive plan for serving the public.

  • INABILITY TO ACCURATELY ASSESS ALL CANDIDATES' SUPPORT - Since voters are afraid to vote for a candidate who they don't feel has a chance to win, even if they truly like that candidate best, the current system doesn't give us accurate information about just how much support each candidate has.
INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING (IRV) is a full choice method of voting that can remedy these problems, making our elections more fair, effective, and positive. In most current elections, voters choose only their top choice for a given office. However, by instead allowing voters to rank their choice of candidates 1-2-3, eliminating the bottom candidate, and redistributing the second choice votes if nobody has a majority on the first count:

  • IRV guarantees that the winner always has MAJORITY SUPPORT!
  • IRV gathers MORE DATA, AND MORE PRECISE DATA, about what the voters want since they feel free to vote for who they truly like best! With IRV, voters can VOTE THEIR HOPES, NOT THEIR FEARS.
  • IRV makes voters feel more important - so they VOTE MORE OFTEN!
That's why Instant Runoff Voting has enjoyed support throughout Ferndale and the surrounding community, from members of many major political parties, as well as from national figures such as Senator John McCain, former Governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean, and Congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. It has also been endorsed by numerous publications including USA Today, The Detroit Free Press and The Oakland Press.

For more information on Instant Runoff Voting, visit the Center for Voting and Democracy's Instant Runoff Voting Section.
Paid for by Ferndale for Instant Runoff Voting, Box 20076, Ferndale, MI 48220