Ranked-choice voting

A run-off election for two state legislature positions was recently held in Northwest Arkansas so that the final slate of candidates advancing to the general election in November could be determined.  A run-off is triggered in a primary if no candidate in a single contest wins a clear majority.  This is not an unlikely outcome when there are more than two candidates running and support is fairly evenly balanced among them.  If ranked-choice voting was utilized in state elections, then holding a run-off would be unnecessary altogether.

Ranked-choice voting is sometimes called instant-runoff, for reasons that will soon become clear. In this type of election voters pick not just their top candidate in a particular race, but also list their preference for all other candidates who are running for that position as well. When no single candidate gets a majority of first place votes, the candidate with the fewest of these votes is removed, and vote totals are retallied using the second choice of the voters who had their top pick eliminated.  If still no candidate reaches 50%+1 of first place votes, then this process repeats until someone inevitably hits that threshold.  This is all done automatically, with the result being a clear winner at the end of the election.  Other states and locales around the country already use ranked-choice voting.  I believe it could be implemented in Arkansas with sufficient constituent support.  

Replacing our current system with ranked-choice voting would save taxpayers money because only one primary would ever need to be held.  Most importantly though, since more citizens vote in primary and general elections than do in run-offs, voter participation would be increased, and we'd have more citizens actively engaged in deciding their representatives.  

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