For Immediate Release
July 31, 2023

Contact:
Nicole Sanchez, 803-881-6027
Frank Knapp, 803-600-6874
Clint Eisenhauer, 843-822-1194

A coalition of South Carolina organizations led by Better Ballot SC has launched an instant runoff voting poll (also known as ranked choice voting) for both Republican and Democratic Presidential Primaries. The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce is also sponsoring the poll. New polls will be launched at the beginning of each month until the Presidential Primaries are over.

Instant runoff voting is the fastest growing election reform in the United States. This voting system is used in over 50 cities, counties and states.  Since 2004, over 20 million ranked choice ballots have been cast in over 500 elections. Several states, including South Carolina, use instant runoff voting for overseas military members.

The Presidential primary season offers a great opportunity for the public to learn about instant runoff voting and how it works,” said Nicole Sanchez, President of Better Ballot SC, which has been educating voters for over two years.  “Voters will have fun becoming familiar with this election system and even though this is an unscientific poll the politicos might learn how voters view their candidates.”

South Carolinians are encouraged to vote in every month’s new poll. (Here is a 90-second video tutorial)

The Republican Presidential poll can be found here: https://www.betterballotsc.org/republican-poll/

The Democratic Presidential poll can be found here: https://www.betterballotsc.org/democratic-poll/

“The reason that the use of instant runoff voting (ranked choice voting) is growing is because it is a fairer, more convenient, less costly form of voting.  It encourages candidates to focus on issues instead of demonizing opponents, voters get a winning consensus candidate, and runoff elections are eliminated, reducing costs and not requiring voters to return to the polling sites,” said Nathan Lockwood, Executive Director of the national grassroots organization Rank The Vote.

“South Carolinians who participate in this poll will realize how it democratizes elections by giving every voter the chance to participate in determining a winning candidate preferred by most voters,” said Frank Knapp Jr., President and CEO of the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “We believe that instant runoff voting results in elected officials focused on solving problems collaboratively with different interest groups. That makes for a better and more stable functioning government, just what small businesses want.”

A bi-partisan bill (H.4022) has been introduced in the SC House.  The bill would amend state law to allow municipalities to use instant runoff voting for their local elections.  One financial benefit to municipalities would be to eliminate costly runoff elections.  The bill has the support of the SC Municipal Association.

“Military members swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Our current plurality voting system has eroded the inherent genius of our democratic election process, a key element in establishing the power of the people as guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights,” said retired Army Colonel Chris Himsl, South Carolina Leader of Veterans for Political Innovation.  “We, the people, must demand from our political leaders a more democratic, civil, and innovative voting system to restore our Constitution and empower the people as our Founding Fathers intended. That system is instant runoff voting, which provides the means for all of us to continue to forge a ‘more perfect union.’”

“When we talk with voters, they quickly understand the benefits of instant runoff voting,” said Clint Eisenhauer, co-organizer of the Instant Runoff Voting/Ranked Choice Voting Coalition. “This public Presidential polling will enable us to reach many more voters and we expect the same response.”

Instant runoff voting is supported by Republicans, Democrats and third political parties because it does not favor one party over another.

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