IRV+

This is a proposed extension of IRV.

IRV will never give voters a less popular result than FPTP. But at times it doesn’t do enough. In selling IRV, it is common to describe the voting as “when your higher choice loses, your next highest choice will be counted”. That is true for every vote except the ones cast for the runner-up. Those are the ones that may still have another place or two to go. It’s sort of like “later-no-help”. That concern is addressed by IRV+.

When a minority wins in IRV, it means that too many ballots have been exhausted by the time IRV reaches the final two candidate showdown. The result is a majority of the votes still counting, but not necessarily of all the valid votes cast. How often and how bad can it get? When votes are so badly split and uncompromising, it indicates that the electorate is too. This is exactly when a compromise is needed. IRV+ tries extra hard to find it.

Here’s an example with 9 voters, using a preferential ballot with a maximum of three selections.

4 votes for A
3 votes for B > C
2 votes for C

The IRV result: A wins with 4 votes over B with 3. It looks like 57%.

Having 4 out of 9 votes is not the majority any electorate should be looking for. It really is only 44%.

When this democratically bad result occurs, IRV+ includes a second round of IRV with the runner-up dropping off the ballot first. This allows votes trapped under the runner-up to go elsewhere. In this example, the votes for Candidate B all go to Candidate C who wins a majority, 5 out of 9. That’s a real majority, 55%.

The second round of IRV is looking for a majority, not a better minority. This second round of IRV could easily find a very flattering majority for the first round winner. That would be nice to see. Or when things are very divided, it could find a different candidate supported by a majority of the electorate who are willing to compromise.

In plurality systems, even in IRV, if you are not with them, they don’t want you to vote. It’s mud throwing. It’s a war on the voter. A 60% voter turnout is a sign of their success. It means 30% of the electorate wins. And still, they want to win with less. If you are not voting for their guys, they seek to divide and divide until you don’t know where to place your vote. This is a most unpleasant democracy to be in. IRV+ can change that rotten feeling. Election campaigns will change for the better when candidates realize that they really do need a majority, and voters know that the voting system will go the extra mile to get it.