South Carolina Runoffs Demonstrate Need for Instant Runoff

South Carolina’s Primary Runoff election results from yesterday show once again why Instant Runoff legislation is needed. The two week period between the June 14 Primary and the June 28 Runoff is expensive, creates an environment of more negative campaigning and less discussion of the issues, and produces abysmal voter turnout (6.75% statewide, then went down from there for the State Rep races).

In the lone statewide race on the Republican side (Superintendent of Education) there was a 6 candidate primary field, then of course the final 2 in the runoff. The vote results show how easily and effectively Instant Runoff could have been the better voting method. The runoff winner was clearly the second choice of the vast majority of the losing primary candidates’ voters going from 23.33% as the 2nd place primary candidate to winning the runoff with 63.91%. This could have easily been settled with one election instead of two.

Save money, promote competition, reduce negative campaigning, and dramatically increase voter participation and turnout…what’s not to like? Instant Runoff voting in South Carolina is long overdue.

Lars Wiechmann Lars is TBAF’s National Field Director and resides in South Carolina.

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