Ballot (and Voter) 'Exhaustion' Under Instant Runoff Voting: An Examination of Four Ranked-Choice Elections

Electoral Studies (2015, Vol. 37): pp. 41-49.

27 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2014 Last revised: 22 Jun 2017

See all articles by Craig M. Burnett

Craig M. Burnett

Hofstra University

Vladimir Kogan

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: November 5, 2014

Abstract

Some proponents of municipal election reform advocate for the adoption of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), a method that allows voters to rank multiple candidates according to their preferences. Although supporters claim that IRV is superior to the traditional primary-runoff election system, research on IRV is limited. We analyze data taken from images of more than 600,000 ballots cast by voters in four recent local elections. We document a problem known as ballot “exhaustion,” which results in a substantial number of votes being discarded in each election. As a result of ballot exhaustion, the winner in all four of our cases receives less than a majority of the total votes cast, a finding that raises serious concerns about IRV and challenges a key argument made by the system’s proponents.

Keywords: instant runoff voting, ranked choice voting, alternative vote, ballot exhaustion

Suggested Citation

Burnett, Craig M. and Kogan, Vladimir, Ballot (and Voter) 'Exhaustion' Under Instant Runoff Voting: An Examination of Four Ranked-Choice Elections (November 5, 2014). Electoral Studies (2015, Vol. 37): pp. 41-49.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2519723

Craig M. Burnett (Contact Author)

Hofstra University ( email )

Hempstead, NY 11549
United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.hofstra.edu/craig_burnett

Vladimir Kogan

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
234
Abstract Views
1,121
rank
140,483
PlumX Metrics