Instant Runoff Voting Revisited

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

Since my post last week about instant runoff voting being worth considering, primarily due to the cost savings for election officials, I have received several comments, including one from L.A. City Councilman Greig Smith who is widely recognized as a reliable business vote.

In a recent blast e-mail to various folks in L.A., he says:

Instant runoff voting unfairly hampers candidates that fight for Los Angeles’ business community.  As someone who has run for office, I can attest that I would have to incorporate practically all of the expenses of my runoff into a single instant runoff election. 

Under this scenario, only unlimited independent expenditure campaigns will possess the means to afford the high costs of campaigning in Los Angeles.  This provides powerful special interests who regularly oppose Los Angeles’ business community a significant advantage over independent-minded candidates.

Runoff elections give voters a clearer debate on critical issues vis-à-vis primaries which focus on name recognition building.  They are critical in Los Angeles municipal elections since the limits, which have not changed in well over a decade, significantly restrict a candidate’s ability to communicate with voters.  Removing the narrow focus on City issues will turn Los Angeles’ elections into beauty contests controlled by well funded special interests.


I think that Smith makes some good points and gives us something to chew on before we make up our minds on instant runoff voting.

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