Skip to main content

League of Women Voters®
of Boulder County

Serving the People of Boulder County, Colorado

HomeVoting Methods

Voting Methods Team 
Advocating for Alternatives to Plurality Voting

Adopting better voting methods is the best way to 
defeat gerrymandering, 
eliminate the spoiler effect, 
attract better candidates and 
make every vote count.  

We want to vote for the greater good, instead of for the lesser evil!
The League supports authorizing and implementing alternatives to plurality voting that allow people to express their preferences more effectively...Click to read the entire LWVCO Voting Methods position..

VM Slider

We offer our expertise in ...

Single-Winner Voting Methods 
 LWVUS Convention slides - wide screen (2018)
 LWVUS Convention slides - std screen (2018)

 FAQ: Voting Methods 101:
26-min Video and Slides (2017)

Multi-Winner Approval Voting
slides, ballots & worksheet, PAV worksheet (2019)

Multi-Winner Ranked Choice Voting

 "Cambridge's Single Transferable Vote" - slides (2017)

Colorado's Risk-Limiting Audits
 "Our Journey" - slides (2018)

We research and advocate for ...
the use of expressive voting methods that more accurately r
eflect voter preferences and improve the election experience. 

We believe that education is critical to the successful adoption of a better voting method.  There are ins and outs of any new voting method, and no voting method is perfect.  We can improve the election experience if voters, candidates and election officials have access to clear, accurate information about voting changes.

2017 LWVBC Voting Methods Report


  • Evaluating and comparing voting methods: pp.9-20
  • Where alternative voting methods are used: pp.21-23 
  • List of resources: pp.35-37
  • Vocabulary for advanced voting methods topics: pp. 38-39
Problems with Plurality Voting
in Single-Winner Elections with 3 or More Candidates

Because you can show your support
for only one candidate...

1) You can't express your preference as clearly as in other methods.

2) You might be inclined to vote for a candidate who is not your favorite, 
or you might be discouraged and not vote at all.

3) Two similar candidates may split the vote, resulting in the election of a third, less desirable candidate.

Act now!
 • National - The 2017-18 Congress did not pass HR 3057, the Fair Representation Act, which would eliminate congressional gerrymandering through ranked voting and multi-member districts. Click to read HR 3057.  (Note: pages 1 and 4-28 are about the ranked voting.)  Ask your congressional representative to introduce it in the current session.

 • Online - Learn about voting methods by trying them out! -- Choose text instead of dates (also with "if need be" option for more expressiveness).  
Score Runoff Voting: -- range = 0 to 5, up to 3 candidates with 1 or 2 winners.
Instant-Runoff Voting: 

 • In Your Organization - Try a new voting method when your organization has to choose among 3 or more candidates!  If you offer parallel ballots with different voting methods, then you can even directly compare methods. 

 • Local - You can watch the Sept 18th Broomfield City Councill study session with a presentation on instant-runoff voting (single-winner RCV).  Note: The city staff slide with the League's information states that IRV is favorite-safe, but our 2017 study found the opposite.
Adopting Better Voting Methods 
 • Instant-Runoff (or Single-Winner Ranked Choice) Voting
Maine federal election (video) used 11/6/18
Santa Fe, NM election used 3/6/18
Aurora, CO 2018 petition withdrawn per city clerk Pueblo, CO asking for use in future mayoral contests 11/19 Approval Voting
Fargo, ND adopted by voters 11/6/18

 • Score Runoff (or STAR) Voting
Asking voters (again) to adopt in 2019 or 2020 Multnomah County (Portland), OR
Lane County (Eugene), OR narrowly rejected 11/6/18
 • Cumulative Voting
Mission Viejo, CA to be used on 2020 ballot
Teaching about Single-Winner Elections!
   Click on an Action Kit item below.
    • Sample ballots with 4 candidates (5/18)
    • Sample ballots with 3 candidates (6/18)
    • Tri-fold PDF pamphlet (3/19) - for online reading and for PC printing (print 2-sided, flip on short side)
    • 2-ft x 3-ft Poster (5/18)
    • 2017 Study Packet

Boulder's Multi-Winner Elections
"For elections of officials, the Hare system of preferential voting is prescribed.  This system insures a real representation of like-thinking groups of voters, instead of the present fictitious representation based on wards or other arbitrary geographical districts.  It minimizes also the well known evils of parties and of excessive campaign funds."
 -- from Prefatory Synopsis, Charter of the City of Boulder, CO

Read Professor William O. Winter's 1982 conference paper on
Boulder's 3-decade use of the Hare system (aka single transferable vote or multi-winner ranked-choice voting).
[Collected papers of Leon Weaver, in the possession of Jack Santucci.]
Join our team!
We welcome new participants, and you don't have to be an expert or even a League member. Contact our Team Leader at
Team officers: 
Celeste Landry, Leader
Gaythia Weis, Logistics
Ceal Ruffing, New members

L to R: League members Celeste Landry, Diana Haskell, Frank Atwood (Approval Voting USA), Ceal Ruffing, and Rob Richie (FairVote) -- Feb 2, 2017
Check out our other resources!
Select LWVBC Presentations - slides
Unrig the System (8/17)
Colorado League Day 2015
Guest Presentations - slides
More Choices for Voters: RCV 1 (2/17) Rob Richie - FairVote More Choices for Voters: Approval Voting (2/17) Neal McBurnett, Rep. Jonathan Singer More Choices for Voters: Proportional Representation (4/17) Jesse Kumin, Harry Hempy Colorado League Day 2015 (video) Clay Shentrup - Center for Election Science

Plurality is just about
the worst voting method there is!

The voting method we use
impacts the kind of government we have!

Attribution: Rspeer at the English language Wikipedia

Plurality is also known as 
* Winner-take-all voting
* First past the post
* Choose-one voting

Democracy works best when
everyone is participating and their voices are heard.

Let's try a better voting method!