To increase voter turnout, save on election costs, and make election results more representative of the majority, I have been for some time advocating that Memphis adopt “Instant Runoff Voting.”

I recently led the charge for election reform by presenting Instant Runoff Voting to the Memphis City Charter Commission, which unanimously voted to place it on the November 2008 ballot. Click here for the Charter Commissions Website. I then led the local campaign to educate voters about IRV and get the IRV referendum passed as an amendment to the City Charter. I fought to get the word out through public appearances, radio and TV interviews, and personal distribution of IRV pamphlets at polling locations, among many other things. Despite ill-considered opposition from the local GOP and the Commercial Appeal, and despite a misleading local Democratic Party endorsement ballot erroneously urging voters to reject all referenda (not the party’s position), my efforts were ultimately successful. The measure passed with 71% of the vote (see for the results). This puts Memphis on the map as part of a growing national election reform movement (Click here for an article regarding IRV via The Huffington Post).

I was honored to recently receive an award by FairVote, a national nonprofit election reform and voting rights organization, for my advocacy of instant runoff voting. (Click here for an article from the Memphis Flyer).

IRV is getting attention on the national level as well.   I did an interview with Larry Bradley for his weekly EZine. (Click here for the interview).

Steve was given the 2009 Democracy Innovator Award in Washington, DC. by the national election reform organization Fairvote. At the conference, he was asked to give his “elevator speech” on Instant Runoff Voting.