Voting Methods 101 by LWV Boulder County


LWVBoulder County Voting Methods Team

RATIONALE

Because plurality voting (the voting method most commonly used in elections across the USA) often produces results that do not accurately represent the voters’ preferences, and
Because the 2016 election has heightened interest in better voting methods locally, statewide and nationally in order to get results that more accurately represent the voters’ preferences, and
Because, while acknowledging that there is no perfect method of voting, there is agreement among voting methods experts that there are alternative methods of voting (e.g., rank choice, approval, score) that, compared to plurality, more accurately represent the voters’ preferences, improve the election experience, and encourage honest voting rather than tactical voting, and
Because improving the election experience can help the LWV reach its Making Democracy Work® goals of engaging more voters in the election process and increasing fairness in and accessibility to the democratic process, and Because the LWV of Colorado and LWVUS do not have a position on voting methods, therefore
The LWV of Boulder County offers the following position statement for local league consideration and seeks their vote of concurrence at the 2017 May Convention of the League of Women Voters of Colorado:

POSITION STATEMENT

The League supports authorizing and implementing alternatives to plurality voting that allow people to express their preferences more effectively. The League supports gaining on-the-ground experience with alternative voting methods in order to ascertain whether a voting method results in outcomes that match voters’ preferences as recorded on their ballots. The League supports voting methods that improve the election experience, that encourage honest voting rather than tactical voting, and that consider ease of implementation.

Considerations:
• Some voting methods are intended for single-winner elections, others for multi- winner elections. It is important that the intended use of a voting method match its actual application. Multi-winner voting methods can promote proportional representation which fosters diversity of our elected officials.
• Election officials should conduct post-election analysis to evaluate the voters’ usage of the voting method and the election’s reflection of voters’ stated preferences. There should be sufficient data transparency–for example, access to ballot records in anonymous form–for an independent analysis to be conducted by other interested groups.