problems with primaries?
This project on Illinois primaries is focused on the plurality rule:
the candidate who earns the most votes wins the election, with no
need to secure a majority of the vote. This simple, traditional
rule has a profound effect on elections and government, especially
in multi-candidate races.
This year, there are seven candidates running in each party’s
primary for the U.S. Senate nomination. Odds are, the winner will
earn between 30 and 40 percent of the vote, which means between
60 and 70 percent of the voters wanted another candidate. Could
the ‘wrong’ candidate win the election because the majority
of voters spread out their votes among several similar candidates?
Should voters have the ability to choose a first-choice and a second-choice
among the candidates? Should a candidate have to earn more than
50% of the vote in order to win?
Please participate in this statewide discussion on plurality primaries
in Illinois and potential improvements to our elections.
The site includes results from a two scientific statewide telephone
surveys (coming in early March), an opportunity for visitors to
answer the telephone survey online, two online polls for the Senate
primaries that allow visitors to rank the candidates, results of
previous Illinois primaries where the winner earned less than a
majority of the vote, examples of other polls from multi-candidate
races that queried second choices, explanations of how different
voting systems like instant runoff voting work and ways to get involved.
The site is sponsored by the Center for Voting and Democracy and
the Midwest Democracy Center.