Basic historic facts about ranked choice voting

Below are two key dates for anyone writing about “ranked choice” or “preferential” voting in US elections.

1909: first adoption of majoritarian form for public elections (Grand Junction, CO);

1915: first adoption of proportional form for public elections (Ashtabula, OH).

There was use of the majoritarian form in some party primaries, but I cannot find any evidence of this prior to the Grand Junction adoption.

And there was earlier use of the proportional form, around 1911 and/or 1912, in the single-tax colonies of Arden (DE) and Halidon (ME).

The motivation for this post is a recent article flagging the 1940s as the start of US experimentation with preferential voting rules. As far as I can tell, this information passed to the journalist from a political scientist.

Oversized majorities and RCV appeal

When you can’t agree on the one you want, but you can agree on the one you don’t.

I mean instant-runoff voting, which goes these days as “single-winner ranked-choice voting.” As readers of this blog know well, IRV manufactures a majority. If no candidate has a majority of first-choice votes, the last-placed candidate is eliminated. Ballots for the eliminated person flow to next-ranked picks on each. Rinse, repeat.

Two developments now catch the eye.

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