(Columbia, SC) – Today multiple groups rallied at the South Carolina State House in support House Bill 4022, which would give municipalities the option to use Instant Runoff Voting in elections for local officials. Currently there are already three election methods municipalities can use.
H.4022 is on the agenda for discussion by the House Constitutional Laws Subcommittee on Thursday, January 25th.
Instant Runoff Voting, growing in popularity, is a simple election system change—used by over 50 cities, counties, and states across the country—that saves cities money and effort while resulting in consensus majority election winners. Instant Runoff Voting does not favor any political party and has no impact on incumbents’ ability to be re-elected. Polls have shown that voters like Instant Runoff Voting and find it easy to understand.
Here is how Instant Runoff Voting works.
Voters can rank as many candidates as they want on the ballot in order of preference. All first choices are tallied and if a candidate receives more than half of the first choices, that candidate wins, just like in any other election.
If there is no majority winner after counting first choices, the race is decided by an “instant runoff.”
The candidate with the fewest first choice votes is eliminated, and voters who picked that candidate as their top choice will have their next choice counted.
This process continues until there is a candidate winning a majority of the votes.
“Ranked Choice Voting is an important tool in the electoral toolbox,” said Chris Saxman, Executive Director of Virginia FREE, which advocates for free enterprise and responsible, pro-business government. “Virginia Republicans have successfully used Ranked Choice Voting for five years in a row because it works. In fact, using RCV in the 2021 nominations helped bring the Virginia GOP from the brink of extinction.” Mr. Saxman previously served in the Virginia House of Delegates and was John McCain’s Virginia presidential campaign co-chair.
“Better Ballot SC believes that South Carolina needs to upgrade its elections,” said Nicole Sanchez, President of Better Ballot SC that organized today’s rally. “Instant runoff voting would save taxpayes unnecessarily wasted time and money by eliminating the need for runoffs while still ensuring majority support.”
“Ranked choice offers voters the opportunity to express their choice the way we naturally do in the rest of life. It will encourage participation and better reflect the voter’s intent,” said Erik Sickinger, Irmo Town Councilman.
“Whether you occupy a nonpartisan or partisan office, instant runoff voting is a no-brainer,” said City of Charleston Council member Karl Brady. “It saves the taxpayers money and has the added benefit of allowing the voters to have more agency in the voting booth. It’s a win-win all the way around.”
“Instant Runoff Voting saves the municipalities and voters time and money. Our state legislators should empower our municipalities and citizens with a simple option to change how we vote to save time & money. Instant Runoff Voting encourages Veterans and all citizens to vote knowing that their vote will count,” said Chris Himsl, Colonel US Army Ret., Director of Veterans for All Voters-South Carolina.
“I am happy to join activists at the South Carolina state house to demand a better way to vote,” said Chase Oliver who is contending to be the Libertarian Party Presidential candidate. “We hear often about how democracy is at risk, but it is often ignored that it is plurality voting itself which has led to increased polarization and hyper partisanship, and only reforms in how we vote can begin to solve this problem. Ranked Choice Voting in South Carolina will improve representation at the ballot across the board.”
“Instant Runoff Voting encourages candidates to focus on problem solving, not negative campaigning,” said Frank Knapp, President & CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “The result is a better functioning government striving to serve all constituents, including small businesses.”
Also speaking at the rally in support of H.4022 were:
Representative Neal Collins (R-Pickens County), co-sponsor of H.4022.
Representative Jermaine Johnson (D-Richland County), co-sponsor of H.4022.