ASSEMBLY, No. 3418

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

210th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 6, 2003

 

 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman MATT AHEARN

District 38 (Bergen)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

    Permits use of instant runoff voting in balloting for certain local elective public offices.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

    As introduced.

 


An Act permitting use of instant runoff voting in balloting for certain local elective public offices and supplementing Title 19 of the Revised Statutes.

 

    Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

    1. As used in this act:

    "instant runoff voting" means a system of voting which allows each voter to vote for the voter's preferred candidate as well as specific alternative choices from among the other candidates appearing on the ballot for that office in order of preference and, in the event that no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast for candidates for that office provides that the candidate receiving the fewest votes will be eliminated and the second choice votes of the voters who voted for that candidate counted, with the process continuing until one candidate is a majority winner; and

    "continuing candidate" means a candidate who has not been eliminated.

 

    2. The governing body of a county or municipality may, by ordinance or resolution as appropriate, authorize the use of instant runoff voting in elections at which a candidate is to be elected to a local elective public office filled by one individual at an election held pursuant to law or the State Constitution. In each such election the first choice vote of each voter for each race shall be counted first. If, after all ballots are counted, a candidate has obtained a majority of the first choice votes for that race, further counting is not necessary, and that candidate shall be declared the winner. If no candidate has obtained a majority of first choice votes, then the candidate with the fewest number of first choice votes shall be declared defeated, and the second choice votes of voters who voted for this candidate shall be transferred to the next choice continuing candidate marked on each continuing ballot, and added to that continuing candidate's vote total. However, if the total of the votes of the two or more candidates credited with a low number of votes is less than the number of votes credited to the candidate with the next highest number of votes, these candidates shall be declared defeated simultaneously and their votes transferred to the next choice continuing candidate marked on each ballot in a single counting operation. If the next-choice candidate has been eliminated, the vote shall be transferred to the next-choice candidate who is a continuing candidate. After this tabulation, if no continuing candidate receives a majority of the votes, then the continuing candidate with the fewest votes shall be declared defeated. This process of eliminating last-place candidates, transferring ballots from these candidates, and adding them to the totals of continuing candidates shall proceed until a candidate has a majority of the ballots, in which case that candidate is elected, or there is a tie between all remaining continuing candidates. If, in any election, a ballot has no more available preferences stated, that ballot shall be declared exhausted and shall not be counted further. A ballot assigning the same ranking to more than one candidate for an office shall be declared exhausted when the double ranking is reached. If a ballot skips a ranking then the next ranking shall be counted. If there is a tie between candidates, the procedures otherwise provided by law shall be followed.

 

    3. The Attorney General, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act. Instant runoff voting shall not be implemented in any county or municipality until the Attorney General determines that voting equipment and ballots have been updated to accommodate this process.

 

    4. This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

    This bill permits the governing body of a county or municipality to allow the use of instant runoff voting in elections at which a candidate is to be elected to a local elective public office filled by one individual. Instant runoff voting is a system of voting which allows each voter to vote for the voter's preferred candidate as well as specific alternative choices from among the other candidates appearing on the ballot for that office in order of preference. In the event that no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast for candidates for that office, the candidate receiving the fewest votes will be eliminated and the second choice votes for that candidate counted, with the process continuing until one candidate is a majority winner. The Attorney General would be responsible for promulgating rules and regulations necessary to effectuate the bill's purposes. Instant runoff voting would not be implemented until the Attorney General determines that voting equipment and ballots have been updated to accommodate this process.