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Instant runoff voting will get another vote in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis will ask voters — again — for their opinion on whether instant runoff should be used in city elections.

Voters approved the process, also known as ranked choice voting, by a wide margin in a referendum a decade ago but it was never put in place because the Shelby County Election Commission said voting machines weren’t set up for it.

The process asks voters to rank their second and third choices in elections to avoid runoff elections, which are costly and usually attract few voters.

But City Council members agreed Tuesday to stage another referendum that would ask voters to repeal instant runoffs.

The vote followed a heated public meeting with several comments opposed to the repeal.

The process would have been used for the first time in the 2019 elections.