Head-to-Head Matches Make A Better Instant Runoff

A boss wants his employees to choose a color for the new company van. And he likes accurate elections.

If using a simple plurality (as many states do in elections for high office), black is the winning color, with only 7 votes out of 28.

Allowing people to provide more information about their preferences will allow them to arrive at a better consensus.

The above ballot will be used as a primary. A 2nd ballot is created, with two sections.

The Approval vote is the Semifinal. The Head-to-Head section determines the people’s favorite of the final two.

Below is an example of a tied Final match.

A procedure will be created for resolving ties, but a total vote count in section 2 should not be used, so there will be no downside in voting for a bad candidate over a worse one.

The van color voters might think their boss is crazy. But for high office, governor, congress, and president, this system would be ideal.

Head-to-Head Matches allow Semifinal and Final rounds on the same ballot.

Elections can and should gather more data from the people, to accurately measure their true will.

Many Americans are embracing ranked choice, also known as instant runoff, as a better system than plurality. But ranked choice is not all it’s cracked up to be, and the instant runoff aspect is largely false advertising. Approval would be better, or a point system such as Star voting.

I’ll leave it to you to research these systems if you wish. But a system with a Semifinal and Final on one ballot would be hard to beat, and simple enough for use in the real world.

An open primary, allowing each voter to select up to two, to narrow the field to the top four candidates, maximum 1 qualifier per party. (Bye bye, bipolar B.S.)

A fall ballot that provides for a semifinal and a REAL runoff final. The semifinal lists the top four, and allows each voter to choose as many as they wish. The final is one of the six possible head-to-head matches of candidates, and voters may select 1 per match. (Five of the six matches will usually be disregarded, since just one match involves the top two.)

(Smaller states and congressional districts might prefer 3 candidates in the semifinal, which will make only 3 possible head-to-head matches.)

The winner is the one with more votes in the head-to-head of the final 2.

Here’s a link to my other blog post with more philosophy on this voting system. Maybe skim it.


(This article previously included an erroneous reference to Louisiana’s “jungle primary,” which is a one-round election if one candidate gets over 50%, otherwise there’s a second, top-two round. The system is being actively pushed in other states too, with a main selling point being cost savings. But it is important to spend the few bucks it costs for a second ballot every time, for the sake of ACCURATELY measuring the people’s will, with minimal spoiler effect.)


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