All of the information on this page and its subsequent links are taken from the Davis College Green Party website: www.ucdgreens.org.
A History of Choice Voting in ASUCD
On February 20, 2003, the UCD student body overwhelmingly passed the ASUCD Choice Voting Amendment: 67% (2,005) to 33% (1,003). This brought instant runoff voting to the ASUCD Presidential race and proportional representation to the ASUCD Senate elections.
Choice Voting is an election system in which voters get to rank the candidates they like in order–instead of bulleting 6. This gives voters more say and more power.
Choice Voting for President (IRV)
Instant runoff voting produces a majority outcome for President in just one election. It achieves this by letting voters rank the candidates.
Before Choice Voting, ASUCD often held two separate elections to get a majority outcome. There was a first election, and then a second runoff election a week later. This took up a lot of extra time, money, labor, and resources.
Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)
ASUCD elections have low voter turn-out. The Winter Elections often have two elections one week apart because of a runoff. This happened 5 out of the last 9 times. It’s hard to get students to vote just once–not to mention twice.
…and the Solution.
With Instant Runoff Voting, students need only vote once in a single, decisive election. This will increase student ASUCD voting while saving money.
Who Uses Instant Runoff Voting?
San Franciscans last year voted 56% to start using IRV in city elections.
Many schools use IRV, including:
- UC Berkeley
- Johns Hopkins
- University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: (news release)
- University of Maryland
- University of Wisconsin
Choice Voting for Senate (STV)
With Choice Voting, nearly every voter gets to elect a candidate they support to the ASUCD Senate. This makes the ASUCD Senate an accurate cross-section of the voters, so that the Senate’s decisions reflect student opinion.
Choice Voting achieves this using a special counting method. Voters indicate their choice by ranking the candidates in order. Votes are never wasted in the ballot count, because your vote transfers at full value to your next choice if your highest choice gets eliminated.
Proportional Representation (PR)
How it used to be…
ASUCD Senate elections didn’t always represent the range of diversity on campus. That’s why the old plurality system was known as a “winner-take-all” system.
For instance, in the Winter 2001 ASUCD Elections, LEAD won 6 out of 6 seats (100%), even though each LEAD candidate was supported by an average of just 43% of the voters. Student Action and Students 4 Students won no seats, even though both represented a large fraction of students. (supporting data)
In the Fall 2001 ASUCD Elections, UNITE won 5 out of 6 seats (83%), even though each UNITE candidate was supported by an average of just 30% of the voters. Aggie and People’s Collective won no seats, even though each of their candidates averaged 21% voter support. (supporting data)
In both cases, a large fraction of the student body went unrepresented: up to 57% in Winter 2001 and as much as 70% in Fall 2001.
…and the solution we use now.
Proportional Representation ensures that 100% of the student body’s political diversity is represented in the ASUCD Senate…proportionally.
Which outcome represents a truer cross-section of the student body?
How does the system work?
The Choice Voting form of Proportional Representation works on the principle that each student should have a single vote, and each student’s vote should count fully towards someone they elect.
The outcome of Choice Voting for the ASUCD Senate is that each elected Senator will represent a different 1/6 of the student body–creating a miniature portrait of the student body.
Choice Voting Results & Analyses
- illustration to fill vacancies: example to fill Ackerman vacancy
- 18-page report Choice Voting: One Year Later
- 6-page Addendum to Choice Voting: One Year Later (incorporates full ballot data)
- Letter of testimony by the Center for Voting and Democracy
- Election Analysis of Fall 2003 and Winter 2004 Election
- Winter 2001 Election Results and Analysis
- Fall 2001 Election Results and Analysis
- Fall 2004 ASUCD Senate Election Analysis
- Letter to the Editor Supporting Choice Voting
Before Choice Voting, whole slates sometimes lopsidedly swept Senate elections. This happened for instance in the elections of Winter 2000-2001, Fall 2001-2002, and Winter 2002-2003.
But now Senate elections are conducted using proportional representation (STV). This guarantees that elections will always accurately represent the full diversity of student opinion.
We saw this in Fall 2003-2004 when LEAD and Student Focus split the outcome 3 and 3, and again in Winter 2003-2004 when Student Focus got 3, LEAD 2, and independents 1.
The Choice Voting campaign
We also issued several press releases:
- 2/24/03 – UC Davis Improves Voting, Passes Choice Voting
- 1/23/03 – Elections Expert to Speak at UC Davis
- 1/20/03 – UC Davis to Consider Instant Runoff Voting
- 12/03/02 – UCD Greens Finish Petitioning to Improve Elections
- 11/19/02 – Green Party at UC Davis Launches Diversity and Democracy Campaign
UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, Caltech, Stanford, Sonoma State, Duke, Harvard, Cornell, MIT, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: (news release), and many other schools use Choice Voting along with UC Davis. Here is a more complete listing of schools using Choice Voting.
The city of Cambridge, MA has been using the Single Transferable Voting method of PR for many years as well.