Instant Runoff Voting Comes to Los Angeles!

RETHINKING LA - Actually, it’s been here for some time. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been using the very popular form of preferential voting to select the Oscar winners, a process that requires voters to rank the candidates in order of preference.

But now, the City of Los Angeles will embrace Instant Runoff Voting on the Westside as the Palms Neighborhood Council engages in Board elections with three people vying for the President’s seat in a race that requires a majority of votes to win.

Voters will enter a 1 for their first pick, 2 for their second pick, and 3 for their third pick. If a candidate secures greater than 50% then the race is over. But if no candidate garners a majority of the votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and a new round of counting takes place with each ballot counting as one vote for the advancing candidate who is ranked highest on that ballot.

This process continues until one candidate has a majority of the votes and then that candidate is declared the winner.

Instant Runoff Voting is a popular in Australia, Ireland, India, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Closer to home it is used in San Francisco and Oakland. Proponents of IRV include the League of Women Voters who will be supporting the Palms Neighborhood Council as they engage in LA’s IRV demonstration and Californians for Election Reform who have offered advice on the process.

Proponents of Instant Runoff Voting contend that the process is much cheaper and more efficient that the traditional two-round primary/general or general/runoff election systems.

The Palms Neighborhood Council Board Elections will be held this Sunday, October 28, from 10 am to 2 pm.

IMAN Center
3376 Motor Ave.
Los Angeles, 90034

There are 95 Neighborhood Councils within Los Angeles, divided into 12 regions, representing 4 million people from the Harbor to the Valley, from Central LA to South LA, and from the Eastside to the Westside. Palms is one of 16 Neighborhood Councils holding their elections this weekend.

Visit for more information on Neighborhood Council elections or the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.

(Stephen Box is a CityWatch contributor and overseeing the 2012 LA Neighborhood Council elections. He can be reached at

Vol 10 Issue 85
Pub: Oct 23, 2012