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Voting Methods Team

Advocating for Alternatives to Plurality Voting

Adopting better voting methods is the best way to
defeat gerrymandering,
eliminate the spoiler effect,
attract better candidates and
make every vote count.

We want to vote for the greater good, instead of the lesser evil!


Guest Presentations are at the bottom of this webpage.


The League supports authorizing and implementing alternatives to plurality voting that allow people to express their preferences more effectively. Click to read the entire LWVCO Voting Methods position.  Read the LWVUS position on Voter Representation / Electoral Systems adopted in 2020 here.

Overview

"The way you design an election can shape the outcome just as much as the actual choices made by voters. Sometimes more."   Read this NY Times explanation of how the simultaneous 2019 ouster and re-election of a US mayor explains the Brexit chaos.

Want to know more? Watch Voting Methods 101, our celebrated 26-min Video, to see what happens as a group uses four different methods to vote for their favorite dessert—Brownie, Banana Split, Sugar Cookie, or Lemon Bar.
Download the video's slides here. They are difficult to see on the video.
Follow the four ways of counting votes in the four different voting methods.
Watch how a different winner emerges each time, depending on how the voters are able to express their preference.

Slideshow
VM Slider

We offer our expertise in ...


A Guide to Voting Methods Abbreviations

Better Voting Methods Overview

LWVCO Workshop slides (2019)

Single-Winner Voting Methods 
 LWVUS Convention slides - wide screen (2018)
 LWVUS Convention slides - std screen (2018)
 FAQ: Voting Methods :
26-min Video and Slides (2017)

Multi-Winner Elections Deserve More Attention
slides (2019)

Multi-Winner Approval Voting
slides, ballots & worksheet, PAV worksheet (2019)

Multi-Winner STV Ranked Choice Voting (STV-RCV)

 "Cambridge's Single Transferable Vote" - slides (2017)

Same Ballot, Different Tabulation Methods
LWVBC May 2020 Voter newsletter article

RCV: Two Better Ways to Vote
LWVBC Aug 2018 Voter newsletter article RCV is an umbrella term that includes several different voting methods. CO statute only allows 2 forms of RCV.

Evaluating Voting Methods 
Considerations and 5 Examples Relevant to CO (2019)

Colorado's Risk-Limiting Audits
 
 "Our Journey" - slides (2018)

Problems with Plurality Voting

in Single-Winner Elections with 3 or More Candidates

Because you can show your support
for only one candidate...


1) You can't express your preference as clearly as in other methods.


2) You might be inclined to vote for a candidate who is not your favorite, 
or you might be discouraged and not vote at all.


3) Two similar candidates may split the vote, resulting in the election of a third, less desirable candidate.

We research and advocate for ...

the use of expressive voting methods that more accurately reflect voter preferences and improve the election experience. 


We believe that education is critical to the successful adoption of a better voting method.  There are ins and outs of any new voting method, and no voting method is perfect.  We can improve the election experience if voters, candidates and election officials have access to clear, accurate information about voting changes.

2017 LWVBC Voting Methods Report

including...

  • Evaluating and comparing voting methods: pp.9-20
  • Where alternative voting methods are used: pp.21-23 
  • List of resources: pp.35-37
  • Vocabulary for advanced voting methods topics: pp. 38-39

Act Now!

• National - Ask your member of Congress about The Fair Representation Act, which would eliminate congressional gerrymandering through ranked voting and multi-member districts. Click to read HR 4000 from the 2019-20 Congress.  (Note: Titles I and II are about the voting method.  Title III is about the redistricting process.)  Boulder County's Joe Neguse is a co-sponsor of HR 4000.

 • Online - Learn about voting methods by trying them out!  
Approvaldoodle.com -- Choose text instead of dates (also with "if need be" option for more expressiveness).  
Score Runoff Voting: https://star.vote/ -- possible scores = 0,1,2,3,4 and 5
Range Voting: http://voteupapp.com -- range = 0% to 100%
Instant-Runoff Voting (single-winner RCV), Single Transferable Vote (multi-winner RCV) and more: https://www.opavote.com/ 

 • In Your Organization - Try a new voting method when your organization has to choose among 3 or more candidates!  If you offer parallel ballots with different voting methods, then you can even directly compare methods. 

 • Local - Talk to your neighbors and local leaders about adopting better voting methods.  Read our letter to the Boulder City Council in Aug 2020.  Broomfield (study sessions 1/19/21 and 4/20/21) and Denver are considering putting an alternative voting method on the 2021 November ballot.

Adopting Better Voting Methods

Single-Winner Elections
Instant-Runoff Voting (IRV - often just called RCV)
Massachusetts rejected 2020 Boulder, CO beginning in 2023 for mayor Maine (video) since 2018
Santa Fe, NM since 2018
SF Bay cities since 2010 or earlier
Minneapolis & St Paul since 2009 & 2011
Telluride, CO IRV tabulation triggered in 2015 • Plurality Primary with Top-4 IRV General (video for top-5) Alaska - passed in 2020 Approval Voting
Fargo, ND since 2020 (video)
St. Louis, MO since 2021 (panel with LWV)

 • Score Runoff (or STAR) Voting
Dec 2020 court date to appeal Eugene city council rejection Lane County (Eugene), OR - rejected 2018
Multi-Winner Elections
Single Transferable Vote 
(a proportional form of RCV)
Cambridge, MA since 1941
Minneapolis since 2009 (video)  

Eastpointe, MI 2019 and 2021 city council Albany, CA beginning in 2022  • Preferential Block RCV - not a proportional voting method and arguably worse than multi-winner plurality voting Payson, UT and Vineyard, UT pilot 2019-25

 • Cumulative Voting
Mission Viejo, CA beginning in 2022
Used in local elections in more than 5 states

Teaching about Single-Winner Elections


   Click on an Action Kit item below.
    • Sample ballots with 4 candidates (5/18)
    • Sample ballots with 3 candidates (6/18)
    • Single-winner tri-fold pamphlet (4/19) -
for PC printing (print 2-sided, flip on short side)

    • 2-ft x 3-ft Poster (5/18)
    • 2017 Study Packet

Teaching about Multi-Winner Elections  

• Multi-winner tri-fold pamphlet (2/20) - Use 8-1/2" x 14" paper for printing

Boulder's City Council Elections
1917-1947

"For elections of officials, the Hare system of preferential voting is prescribed.  This system insures a real representation of like-thinking groups of voters, instead of the present fictitious representation based on wards or other arbitrary geographical districts.  It minimizes also the well known evils of parties and of excessive campaign funds."
 -- from Prefatory Synopsis, Charter of the City of Boulder, CO

Read Professor William O. Winter's 1982 conference paper on
Boulder's 3-decade use of the Hare system (aka single transferable vote or the proportional form of multi-winner Ranked Choice Voting).
[Collected papers of Leon Weaver, in the possession of Jack Santucci.]

 Join our Team

We welcome new participants, and you don't have to be an expert or even a League member. Contact us at vmteam@lwvbc.org
Team officers: 
Celeste Landry and Marcus Ogren, Co-Leaders
Gaythia Weis, Co-Leader Emeritus
Pat Venturo,
Secretary & Logistics

VM Team: (L to R) Gaythia, Frank, Pat, Celeste, guest Gary, Neal, Ceal, Dory
L to R: Team members Gaythia, Frank, Pat, Celeste, guest Gary, Neal, Ceal, Dory -- Jan 27, 2019



 
L to R: League members Celeste Landry, Diana Haskell, Frank Atwood (Approval Voting USA), Ceal Ruffing, and Rob Richie (FairVote) -- Feb 2, 2017


Check out our Other Resources

Select LWVBC Presentations
2019 LWVCO Caucus on Proposed LWVUS Concurrence original concurrence language Unrig the System (8/17)
Colorado League Day 2015
Panel Presentations
LWVCO Alternative Voting Methods Webinar (2/21)
Rep Chris Kennedy and Marcus Ogren
Better (Boulder) City Council Elections: 4 Perspectives (7/20 slides) Rich Lopez, Jan Burton, Celeste Landry, Marcus Ogren • Guest Presentations What is a Proportional Voting Method? (12/19 slides) Aaron Hamlin - Exec Dir, Center for Election Science The Will of the People: How We Vote and Why It Matters: (11/19 slides) with 2018 Maine campaign video Jeanne Clelland - CU Boulder Math Dept More Choices for Voters 1: RCV (2/17) Rob Richie - FairVote More Choices for Voters 2: Approval Voting (2/17) Neal McBurnett, Rep. Jonathan Singer More Choices for Voters 3: Proportional Representation (4/17) Jesse Kumin, Harry Hempy Colorado League Day 2015 Clay Shentrup - Center for Election Science
• Relevant Presentations
Alternative Voting Method Stakeholder Group (12/20 slides)
Dwight Shellman - Sec of State, Election Division

Plurality is just about the worst voting method there is!

The voting method we use
impacts the kind of government we have!



Attribution: Rspeer at the English language Wikipedia

Plurality is also known as 
* Winner-take-all voting
* First past the post
* Choose-one voting

Democracy works best when
everyone is participating and their voices are heard.


Let's try a better voting method!