Hearing Could Expedite Instant Runoff Voting Decision


Proponents of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) want the voting system in place for the upcoming October elections but they say a September hearing set on the matter will not allow for it.

In 2008 and in 2018, Memphis voters approved IRV. The system prevents runoff elections among top candidates that are held after typical, city-wide voting days. This, proponents say, allows elections here to be won by a sliver of Memphis voters and disenfranchises voters who may find it hard to get themselves to the polls.

Tennessee Election Coordinator Mark Goins said after the 2018 elections here that IRV does not comply with state law and that IRV could not be implemented here this year. That opinion is being contested in a separate case.

City council hopefuls Erika Sugarmon, John Marek, and Sam Goff filed a lawsuit in May to ensure the method was in place for the October 3rd elections here, in which every Memphis City Council seat is open.

However, the case is contested and the next hearing on the matter is set for September 10th, according to court papers. Those proponents say that timeline will not allow IRV to be ready for the October elections.
  • Davidson County Chancery Court
  • Chancellor Lyle

Last week, Sugarmon, Marek, and Goff pushed for an expedited hearing. So, Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle set a hearing on the matter in her courtroom for Wednesday, June 26th. That hearing may yield a decision that will govern IRV implementation for the October 3rd election.
See related PDF IRV_Order.pdf

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