Rhode Island: Filippi calls for move to instant runoff elections in Rhode Island | The Westerly Sun

State Rep. Blake Filippi has introduced legislation that would give voters an opportunity in the next election to amend the Rhode Island constitution to replace the current plurality vote with instant runoff elections. A plurality is winning with the greatest number of votes, even if the candidate does not win more than 50 percent of the vote. Filippi cited examples of Gov. Gina Raimondo, who was elected with 40.8 percent of the vote, and former Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who received 36.1 percent. “The fact that we have a prior governor with 36 percent of the vote and our current governor has approximately 40 percent of the vote — I think it’s obvious there’s a problem,” said Filippi, I-Westerly. “Our elected officials can serve without the strong mandate needed to effectively govern and I think that people feel their will isn’t being represented when you have someone with just a mere plurality serving.”

Minnesota: Ranked Choice Voting to Appear on November Ballot | KQDS

An organization, called Fair Vote Minnesota, has petitioned throughout Duluth and received more than 1,600 signatures, which was the magic number, and now puts the question of ranked choice voting on the ballot this November. Councilor Joel Sipress believes the term ‘ranked choice voting’ encompasses two different voting systems. The first is called ‘instant runoff voting’ and is the method used in races electing one person, like the Mayor or district councilors. The second, is called ‘single transferable voting,’ a system designed for races electing multiple people at the same time, like the at–large city councilors.

Maine: Ranked choice voting proponents within 15,000 signatures of forcing statewide referendum | Bangor Daily News

The organizers of an effort to bring ranked choice voting to Maine say they have pulled within striking distance of their goal to force a statewide referendum on the issue with only a month left until the deadline to put the question on the 2015 ballot. Former independent Sen. Richard Woodbury, principal officer for the Committee for Ranked-Choice Voting, said Wednesday his group has collected more than 45,000 signatures and aims to handily eclipse 61,000 signatures by Jan. 7. The deadline for the group to submit signatures to municipalities for certification is Jan. 12. In ranked choice voting, also known as instant runoff voting, voters rank candidates in order of preference, in essence voting for more than one candidate. If none of the candidates receive a majority of the initial vote total — at least 50 percent — the lowest performing candidate is eliminated. The ballots with that candidate listed as a first preference are recounted with the second-choice votes tallied and third choice, if necessary, until one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote.

New York: New York City Council Aiming to Abolish Runoff Elections | Wall Street Journal

The City Council has identified instant runoff voting—and the end of citywide runoff elections—as one of several dozen budget and legislative priorities in Albany, according to a report to be released by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Tuesday. The report, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, outlines 35 priorities that the council will be championing in the state capital this year, including Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to increase city income taxes on wealthy New Yorkers to pay for universal prekindergarten and an expansion of after-school programs for middle-school students. Ms. Mark-Viverito is slated to join Mr. de Blasio on Tuesday for a day of lobbying in Albany, where the mayor’s proposal to raise income taxes on New Yorkers making $500,000 or more will take center stage. Ms. Mark-Viverito said in an interview Monday that the council plans to advocate for dozens of other issues, including the push for instant runoff voting.

New York: High-Cost Runoff for Public Advocate’s Post Prompts Calls for Reform | New York Times

The numbers are attention-getting: on Tuesday, New York City will spend about $13 million to hold a runoff in the Democratic primary for an office, public advocate, that is budgeted only $2.3 million a year. And the combination of a little-known post with a little-understood election process is expected to lead to startlingly low turnout — maybe 100,000 to 175,000 voters, in a city of 8 million people. Yet the election is likely to determine the occupant of one of the city’s top offices, because there is no Republican candidate. The high cost of an election for a low-cost office has inspired wags to muse. Some have suggested that the race be decided by a coin toss. Others, including the Republican nominee for mayor, Joseph J. Lhota, have joked that, because the public advocate has few concrete powers, the two candidates could be allowed to serve, at a saving to taxpayers. But some elected officials and government reform advocates have suggested a longer-term solution: instead of holding costly, low-turnout runoffs, New York City should switch to instant runoff voting, a system already used in other cities.