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Rob Richie

Rob Richie

Posted: February 16, 2011 04:43 PM

There aren't many opportunities to act like Matt Damon or Julia Roberts. But this month, they and their fellow Hollywood stars have been voting for the Best Picture Oscar with instant runoff voting (IRV) -- and you can too at FairVote's OscarVotes123.com and below. So far, The King's Speech is in the lead.

FairVote has created OscarVotes123.com to explain IRV (also called "preferential voting," "ranked choice voting" and "the alternative vote") and address questions about the system. Readers also might enjoy a fascinating analysis of the voting system by FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver. And not to bias your Oscar vote, but Colin Firth and Helena Bonham-Carter, stars of The King's Speech, this week joined the campaign backing a national referendum this year to adopt the system for all future elections to the British House of Commons.

Instant runoff voting has real-world applications in the political world as well as a means to accommodate increased voter choice and uphold majority rule. It simulates a "same day runoff," essentially, between the two strongest candidates, with the winner being the one who is ranked ahead of the other on more ballots. Used for decades to elect top offices in Australia (see a fun Aussie video about it here), Ireland and many private organizations, IRV has surged in use around the world in the past decade -- including at least one in an American city every November since 2004, including in Oakland (CA), Minneapolis (MN), San Francisco (CA), Memphis (TN) and Portland (ME). That support is grounded in voters' growing dissatisfaction with choices being limited to two and, in the words of a recent report by an influential international think tank, a plurality voting system that fails as "the worst of both possible worlds."

Now it's your turn. I hope you've cast your Oscar vote and tell your friends! The live, updated results are here.


 

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