Instant Run off Voting to Go Before Sarasota Voters


Last night supporters of instant run off voting in Sarasota are halfway to their goal of creating a new way of voting in the City.


Activists showed off their certified letter of approval from Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent, saying they have the sufficient amount of signatures to get their language on the November ballot.


Instant Run-Off Voting provides an alternative to plurality and run-off elections.


Supporters of such a system say that it provides an alternative to plurality and runoff elections.   


Rob Richie is with the group The Center for Voting And Democracy, based in Takoma Park, Maryland.  (roll tape#1 o.q.”one election rather than two”)


Richie also says that voter turnout is another factor, since run-off elections, or sometimes the first election  invariably have a lower voter response.

 Instant Run off voting works by having voters ranking candidates by their preference, 1, 2 , 3 and so on, with the candidate with the majority of first choice votes winning If that is not the case,  the last place candidate is defeated, just as in a runoff election, and all ballots are counted again, but this time each ballot cast for the defeated candidate counts for the next choice candidate listed on the ballot. The process of eliminating the last place candidate and recounting the ballots continues until one candidate receives a majority of the vote. …activists call it a series of run-off elections.  Rob Richie from the Center for Voting and Democracy  says this gives the voter a little more control (roll tape#2 o.q.”rank several choices” ) In November, Minneapolis and Oakland were 2 of the latest cities to approve Instant Runoff Voting, or IRV.  Since San Francisco approved such a measure in 2002, 8 other American cities have voted on it, and all 8 have approved such a motion.   The idea of Instant Run Off Voting became more popular in the aftermath of the 2000 Presidential Election, when progressive voters opted to vote for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, votes that theoretically might be closer aligned with Democrat Al Gore vs. Republican George W. Bush. 

But activists say Instant Run Off Voting is much more applicable to local races…And Anthony Lorenzo, from the Coalition for Instant Runoff Voting in Florida, says in some areas of the country conservatives have been the agent for voting changes (roll tape#3 o.q. “absolutely”)


2 months ago, Sarasota County voters approved an initiative requiring that electronic voting machines – the majority in the County – must come with a paper trail.  And the controversial Congressional race between Vern Buchanan and Christine Jennings – in which over 18,000 voters somehow did not cast a ballot in that race- continues.


Anthony Lorenzo is with the Coalition for Instant Runoff Voting in Florida, the group pushing for such a voting system in Sarasota    He says the area is becoming a leader in trying to clean up the voting system  (roll tape#. 4 o.q.”. with the rest of the state”) 


The initiative for Instant Run Off Voting in Sarasota will be on the November ballot.

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