House Minority Whip Blake A. Filippi to Reintroduce Resolution to Amend Rhode Island Constitution and Require Election by Majority Through Instant Run-Off Voting
STATE HOUSE – House Minority Whip Blake A. Filippi (District 36, Block Island, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly) announced on December 20, 2017, that he will reintroduce a resolution seeking to amend the Rhode Island Constitution to require that General Office and General Assembly candidates obtain a majority of ballots cast through instant run-off voting – rather than current plurality requirement. Whip Filippi’s resolution received bi-partisan support in the last three General Assembly sessions.
“In our plurality election system, the candidate with the most vote’s wins, even if they do not break the 50% threshold,” explained Filippi. “Conversely, run-off elections require a top vote-getter to obtain more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate initially breaks this 50% threshold in a typical 3-way race, the first and second place finishers will have a runoff election,” said Filippi. “Instant run-off voting allows this second match-up to occur on the same day, thereby avoiding the expense and delay of another election. This is accomplished by voters marking their first and second choices on the ballot. If a voter’s first choice candidate is not among the initial top two vote earners, their vote in the runoff will be cast for their second choice,” explained Filippi.
“In 2010, former Governor Chafee was elected to our highest office with 36.1% of the vote in a 4-way race. In 2014, Governor Raimondo was elected with 40.7% in a 3-way race. These results demonstrate why our current voting system needs to change – we sometimes don’t even know whether the will of the majority is reflected in our elections. Now, for the third gubernatorial election in a row, the stage is set for another multi-candidate race, with Former State Rep. Joseph Trillo’s recent announcement that he will run for Governor as an independent,” said Filippi.
“The last two general elections demonstrate we must take action to preserve the sanctity of our elections and the effectiveness of government. The citizens of Rhode Island deserve the opportunity to strengthen our electoral process by passing this constitutional amendment in the next general election,” stated Filippi.
For more information, contact:
Joseph Golomboski, House Minority Office
State House Room 106
Providence, RI 02903