I am running for Senate in NJ in 2024 and I believe my voting bloc is merely a plural majority of all eligible voters but maybe not a majority (and probably not current voters, btw).

If this is the case, would I lose if abstaining votes aren’t counted, not even for reconciliation powers of the certified winner?

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    Can you clarify what you mean by "reconciliation powers of the certified winner"? Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 4:29
  • What is reconciliation, certification I also happen to prototype election technology! Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 20:41
  • That link is to something that is very unclear. Can you clarify ? Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 15:23
  • I'll quote myself on this yesterday, "This is the problem with disapproval/explicit-approval voting - still, the default option should be filled against. This way, taxes are granted by rate (geohash spoofable to hire foreign intervention). Crowdingfunding for “Investment and Research” can be another financial book presented on the same site. Reconciled spending from the year prior is risen by 50% asserted turnout. Regulation, too? Maybe only if to atomize around a constitutional preamble." Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 15:29

3 Answers 3


Since New Jersey current uses a plurality voting/first past the post voting system for the office of US Senator, then the question of how a ranked choice voting/instant runoff tabulated election would work would depend on the precise wording of the bill modifying the relevant election law, and on the advice given to election officals on how to implement it. Looking at preferential systems around the the world however, the two most common methods either:

  • Assign the ballot to clear candidate choices in order, before discarding it as expended; or
  • Assign the vote to all sequential candidate choices, starting from the first, before discarding it at the first missing choice.

As an example, a voter who only picked a second choice candidate and no first choice would be counted under the first system, but not the second. The alternative of declaring such a ballot invalid is possible, but much rarer. Taking a specific US example, Alaska's RCV scheme allows for the kind of "bullet voting" you ask about, (and allows for a single missed preference, but not skips of 2 or more).

As a note, if you are coming from outside the main two US parties, it might be worth considering educating your potential voters about the voting system they will use. If an RCV system is implemented, you should also consider entering into an electoral pact with any other candidate with policies close to yours. Such a Minor Party Alliance achieved the election of Ricky Muir of the Australian Enthusiast Party to the Australian Senate.

  • Is that not redundant? My potential plurality hates everyone. 39% voting eligible for presidential runs means we hate everyone. Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 20:32
  • @NickCarducci Interpretting that as your potential vote pool hating current candidates, then if they only indicate one choice, a near-clone candidate halves your vote, which is one of the issues ranked choice voting actually helps with, and if the issue is big enough to force unlikely voters to turn out, then someone else will run on it.
    – origimbo
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 20:39
  • Are you saying "my" platform voters would vote for other platforms that have failed? I don't understand how you are not forcing us to abstain. Because of my hairdo? The known factor is why people will vote bipartisan, to the contrary. I cannot accept the answer for why IRV isn't forcing a vehement plurality to lose. Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 20:46
  • @NickCarducci If 39% of voters are certain to vote for you as first choice (like pretty much everyone else here, I am highly skeptical of this) then you are guaranteed to be in the top two candidates at every stage of elimination so it doesn't matter who they vote for second. Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 9:03
  • You are wrong if 61% bipartisans vote for each other. Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 14:26

To answer "Would ranked choice voting force single issue voters to vote for more than one candidate or not be counted?"

If enough people have you as number 1 you win. In the case where you do not end up winning, people who put you at #1 with no other votes, do count until you are eliminated. Then, by definition, anyone who indicated no second choice is silent on the rest of the field.


You're asking about voter intentionality which is impossible to predict in any certain terms. If we know how voters would behave then we'd be able to hack democracy a long time ago.

If your question is: "How do I maximzie my chances of winning in IRV?" then that's at least answerable.

Taking examples from Australia's lower house election, it is very common for a candidate to only receive a plurality - but not majority - of votes on the first round. To maximize their chances of winning on subsequent rounds of counting, they have to persuade voters who did not vote for them to rank them on 2nd place.

To answer your question, your chance is already not bad if you know you have a plurality of votes secured on 1st round. Your task then is to understand where are you going to get the extra votes to push you over the majority threshold. In another word, among the candidates who will be eliminated after the first round, which one are you going to appeal to so that their supporters will rank you as 2nd on the ballot.

Not sure what you mean by "if abstaining votes aren’t counted" since abstaintion votes are never counted.

  • I’m asking if abstaining votes do not force my bloc to vote for a second candidate compared to first-past-the-post. Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 4:48
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    @NickCarducci If the election is done under IRV then your voters' second choices only matter after you are eliminated, so they can't affect your chance of winning. You could encourage them to pick a specific candidate as second choice, but all that would do is give that candidate a boost if you are eliminated before them. Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 8:52
  • Any second vote my voters take is against their will given most will be turning out for the first time for an anti-insurance candidate. Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 12:48
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    @NickCarducci That seems a huge assumption. IRV enables voters who like you but aren't sure you are going to be one of the top 2 candidates to vote for you, and still have an influence on which candidate will win if you don't. You seem to be assuming that nobody who cares one way or another about other candidates would be interested in voting for you; I can't imagine that would be true across the board unless the number of your supporters is extremely low.
    – Ben
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 1:42
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    So if I understand correctly, your train of logic is this: 39% of eligible voters in New Jersey don't vote, therefore there must not be a candidate that appeals to them, therefore you must be that candidate, therefore every single person in that 39% is guaranteed to vote for you? And I'm guessing from your other network posts that you're going to blame the voting machines if that doesn't happen?
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 7:41

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