Cary, NC Instant Runoff Voting Pilot Program

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Cary, NC, US

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Type: Program

Status: In effect in 2007

Source File:


Instant Runoff Voting Pilot Program

Voters in Cary will use a new kind of ballot for the October 9th municipal election. (One-stop, in-person voting begins as early September 20.)**

The new method -- called Instant Runoff Voting -- makes a separate runoff election unnecessary and saves the Town of Cary about $60,000.

This new method lets voters mark their first choice and backup choices for each office at the same time, "instantly." Using a ballot with three columns, voters can select up to three candidates in order of their preference: first, second, and third.

Election officials emphasize that making a backup selection will not harm the first-choice candidate's chance of winning.

"Making a second and third choice never hurts your first choice, because they are not even looked at unless your first choice clearly loses," said Cherie Poucher, Director of the Wake County Board of Elections. "Voting is as easy as 1-2-3."

Click here to view a demonstration ballot.

Poucher said the vote counting is similar to a traditional runoff, but it happens with one ballot. "If nobody gets a majority of first-choice votes, the top two candidates go into a 'virtual' runoff. Your vote stays with one of those top two candidates if one of them was your first choice. But if your first choice was eliminated, then your vote goes to whichever of the top two candidates you ranked highest with your backup choices," Poucher explained.

The Town of Cary, Wake County Board of Elections, and State Board of Elections all approved Cary's participation in this special program.