Structural Reform of U.S. Elections: The Choice Between Instant Runoff (Hare) and Convergence (Condorcet) Voting [updated]

The Election Law team at Ohio State University is hosting a thought-provoking webinar on Wednesday, June 26, from 3-4 pm to discuss the possibilities of Structural Reform of U.S. Elections, with a focus on the nuanced differences two different electoral methods: one is commonly called Instant Runoff Voting and known to election specialists as the “Hare method” because of its British inventor, Thomas Hare; the other is best described as “Convergence Voting” because of its mathematical property of identifying the candidate upon whom different majorities of voters converge to elect the candidate who achieves the broadest support within the electorate. Election specialists generally credit the Marquis de Condorcet, an eighteenth-century French philosopher, as proposing the mathematical principle of Convergence Voting (although 500 years earlier a thirteenth-century Majorcan philosopher named Ramon Lull developed the same mathematical principle, but his innovation was lost to history until recently).

Our panel of election reform experts and researchers will explore the pros and cons of these two alternative electoral systems as potential remedies for the problems that currently plague American elections, including the failure of existing electoral structures to produce outcomes that match the overall preferences of voters and, relatedly, the tendency of the existing system to exacerbate the pathology of hyperpolarized politics.
Much more than just a question of technical mathematics, the choice of what electoral system to adopt is ultimately a philosophical decision about what kind of democracy we want. Our conversation will illuminate what’s at stake in making this choice, so that citizens can better understand how to achieve the form of self-government they consider best.

A link for registering for this webinar is available here.


Deb Otis, is the Director of Research and Policy at FairVote. With a decade of experience in research and analytics, Deb is passionate about sharing the data-driven case for why our country needs election reform. In addition to ranked choice voting and proportional representation, Deb’s areas of research include comparative electoral systems, political polarization, redistricting, representation for women and people of color, the electoral college, and election recounts. Deb is a graduate of Boston University with degrees in Economics and Physics and she lives in Washington, DC.

Kevin R. Kosar, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies the US Congress, the administrative state, American politics, election reform, and the US Postal Service. He edits and hosts the Understanding Congress podcast.
Edward B. Foley, holds the Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law at The Ohio State University, where he also directs its election law program. His writing and teaching focuses, in part, on voting system design, gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and electoral reform. Foley is a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow and, from January to March 2024, a Visiting Professor at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law. For the 2024-2025 academic year, he will be a Crane Fellow in Law and Public Policy at Princeton University. 


Professor Steven Huefner, C. William O’Neill Professor in Law and Judicial Administration, Moritz College of Law, and Deputy Director, Election Law at Ohio State.

This post has been updated to include the webinar registration link.

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