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Electoral Reform in the US: Domestic and Comparative Lessons

Thu, August 29, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Marriott, Balcony B

Session Submission Type: Full Paper Panel

Session Description

The traditional electoral system for most U.S. jurisdictions, plurality rule in single-seat districts, is being challenged by recent and ongoing changes of electoral and voting rules, especially the introduction of Ranked-Choice Voting and Second-Round Runoff. Variants of these rules are used in primary elections and in elections for single-person offices, such as mayors in numerous U.S. cities, including Minneapolis, San Francisco, Chicago, some special elections to the U.S. Congress, as well as, since 2018, for the first time at the state level for both chambers of the U.S. Congress in Maine.
This panel will review, update and analyze how these rules are working, especially regarding who votes, who runs, and who wins. That is: their influence on turnout, strategic vote and the voters’ use of the option to choose or rank several candidates, whether more candidates run, the tactics of ‘divide and win’ disappear or not, and on what political, ethnic and gender characteristics the candidates and the winners are different from the ones who had or would have been selected and elected under plurality rule.
The experiences of using Ranked-Choice Voting in Australia and Two-Round Runoff in most presidential elections in Latin American countries, as well as in France and other places, will be used as comparative references in order to try to predict what may happen in the US with similar systems --basically because so far there are fewer experiences here.

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