AUSTIN, Texas - If it passes, Proposition E would greatly alter how elections are structured. Prop E asks if the city charter should change to allow the use of ranked-choice voting in city elections.
What exactly is ranked-choice voting? Well right now if you go to a ballot and vote on a candidate, you simply pick the one person you want to hold that office. With ranked-choice voting, you can rank your candidates by preference. If no one wins outright, the person in last place is dropped and votes are awarded based on who was voted number two. This process goes on until a candidate wins.
It creates an instant runoff on the same day, eliminating the need for a runoff election date later on. Supporters said because it eliminates the need for a runoff, it saves money, time, and energy. They also said it creates better representation, opening the door for more candidates to run.
Political science professor Brian Smith said the idea is new and different and could be a great benefit in council elections. But something Austinites will need to think about is the fact that even if it were to pass, the state legislature has to "okay" it before local jurisdictions can use it.
Therefore, passing it would only get the issue talked about, which is not totally in vain, says Smith, who added that one of the bigger benefits is it gives candidates a chance, especially when there are many people on the ballot.