Instant runoff voting being used in court of appeals race

This fall, Mecklenburg County voters will see something new on their general election ballot: instant runoff voting.

Here’s how it works: Voters select their first choice as usual and may pick a second and third choice. If a candidate gets enough first-choice votes to win more than 50 percent of votes cast, the candidate is the winner and no further counting is necessary. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the first choice votes, the top two candidates move to the instant runoff.

The winner is determined by adding the highest ranked second- or third-choice vote to the candidate’s initial vote totals. The candidate with the most votes in the second round wins the election. If a voter’s first-choice candidate is not in the runoff, a second-choice or third-choice vote for either of the two runoff candidates will be counted. Voting for a candidate as a first, second and third choice, will not increase that candidate’s chances of winning.

In August, Judge James A. Wynn Jr. resigned from the N.C. Court of Appeals to accept an appointment to the Fourth U.S. Court of Appeals. Because of the timing of the resignation, the instant runoff method will be used for that race only.

Early voting runs from Thursday, Oct. 14, to Oct. 30. There are 16 early-voting locations across the county. To view the list, along with days and times, visit

The board of elections will provide real-time reports to let voters know which locations have the shortest lines. Those reports are available on Twitter @meckcounty #earlyvote and at Mecklenburg County’s Facebook page.

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