Today we publish a new Common Ground for Texans white paper on voting systems. “Better Choices for Voters: Exploring Alternatives to Plurality Voting” offers an overview of several of the most-discussed voting-system reforms, including instant-runoff voting, proportional representation, the single transferable vote, range voting, Condorcet methods, and others. The paper provides some answers to questions such as:
- What are the drawbacks of plurality voting, the system most widely used in the US?
- How does instant-runoff voting (IRV) work?
- What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of IRV?
- What is proportional representation and how does it work?
- What is the Condorcet winner criterion, and which voting systems satisfy it?
- What is electoral fusion?
- How do two-round systems, such as California’s recently adopted “top-two primary”, compare with other systems?
As a longtime two-party-system skeptic, I see vote-splitting as a major problem that suppresses alternative parties; this motivated me to study the effects of plurality voting in reinforcing the status quo by blocking competition, and how the problem might be solved. I was pleased to have the support and encouragement of the Common Ground for Texans board in writing this paper, which I began in February. I am excited to finally be able to share it with the public, and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.