Judge dismisses Tennessee instant runoff voting lawsuit

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to deem instant runoff voting legal in Tennessee, noting that an administrative challenge on the topic remains unresolved.

This week, Davidson County Chancellor Anne Martin dismissed the lawsuit by several prospective Memphis city council candidates and IRV Memphis, Inc. against state elections coordinator Mark Goins and Shelby County’s Election Commission.

Memphis voters in 2008 approved city election instant runoff voting. They rejected a November referendum repeal attempt.

The system lets voters rank choices, avoiding runoffs when no candidate tops 50 percent.

The lawsuit says Shelby’s elections administrator planned to begin instant runoff voting in 2019 municipal elections. Then, Goins wrote that Tennessee law doesn’t allow ranked-choice voting.

Martin wrote that the parties that sued didn’t properly intervene in the yet-to-be-decided administrative case.

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