“Total Vote Runoff” tweak to Ranked Choice Voting

Eric Maskin and I have written a Washington Post column explaining how a Total Vote Runoff version of Ranked Choice Voting is a small but significant adjustment to the “instant runoff” method used in Alaska (and elsewhere). The only change is the method of identifying the candidate to be eliminated when there is no candidate with a majority of first-place votes. The Total Vote Runoff eliminates the candidate with the fewest total votes from all the ranked-choice ballots instead of the candidate with the fewest first-place votes, and the column explains how to calculate a candidate’s total votes. For those interested in the technical aspects of this procedure, a candidate’s total votes is equivalent to a candidate’s Borda score, and eliminating sequentially the candidate with the lowest total votes (Borda score) will never fail to elect a Condorcet winner (the candidate who beats all other opponents in each head-to-head matchup). A more detailed explanation of the Total Vote Runoff procedure is contained in the presentation I gave at the University of New Hampshire Law Review symposium last month (the paper for which will be published in the review’s symposium issue).

Share this: