Polls to Open at Midnight; Vote Will Be by Instant Runoff
Elections 4, the SpinDizzy mayoral election for 2014, will commence just after midnight on the morning of January 20 and be open until the end of the day on January 23. The voting will be by instant runoff, meaning that voters may rank all candidates in preferential order. The new mayor, if any, will be inaugurated on January 26.
In addition to candidates Kefan, Garrison, Gilead, Sally, Royce, and Vivek, the ballot will include “no mayor” as a choice. If “no mayor” wins the election, the office will be vacant for 2013.
In an instant runoff vote, each voter orders the candidates according to her preferences. The vote program then automatically runs several “rounds” of voting. In each round, the person with the fewest first-choice votes is discarded, and the next round commences. This continues until someone has a simple majority of the first-choice votes in a round. For instance, in an imaginary election between Aaron, Betty, and Charlie, a voter might rank Betty as her first choice, Charlie as her second, and Aaron last. If Betty proves to be the least popular first-choice candidate, then she will be eliminated, and in the second round our hypothetical voter’s ballot would be cast for Charlie instead.
It should be noted that the presence of “no mayor” as a choice on the ballot will somewhat complicate matters, since it will be treated as though a candidate for ranking purposes. Thus, a person who only wished to have no mayor and beyond that had no preference, could simply rank “no mayor” first and leave the others unranked (in which case no ballot would be cast for that person in further rounds after “no mayor” is eliminated, if it is). A person who wished to have a mayor but did not care who filled the position would have more difficulty, as the best way to express that would still be to rank the candidates in order (perhaps by a dice roll) and place “no mayor” last.
For a more detailed explanation of the mechanics of instant runoff voting, see Zeta’s demonstration in the archives of the News.