Final-Five Voting: Comparative Evidence on a Novel Election System

Final-Five Voting: Comparative Evidence on a Novel Election System

The Institute for Political Innovation (IPI) released a report on Final Five Voting by Dr. Benjamin Reilly (East West Center), Dr. David Lublin (American University), and Rachel Leven (IPI).

Final Five Voting (FFV) is an innovation that combines open, single-ballot, top-five primaries and instant-runoff (IRV) general elections. The paper highlights France as an analogous “two-round” system, in which only two candidates advance to the final round.

France’s system shares some features with IRV (also known as ranked-choice voting), by, for instance, encouraging candidates to appeal to a broader, majority of voters. This played out between 2017 and 2022 as Marine Le Pen learned from her failed election and moderated her messaging and image, managing to narrow the margin considerably this year despite her loss.

Yet on Sunday, many French voters went to the polls feeling they had only a choice between the lesser of two evils. Many in France chose not to participate at all, with the abstention rate projected to be France’s highest since 1969. Sound familiar?

“Final-Five Voting: Comparative Evidence on a Novel Election System” shows that FFV is far less likely than a French-style two-round runoff to exclude major ideological or identity groups from the second round of voting. The paper also looks at Australia, where election campaigning is now underway. Like FFV, Australia uses IRV general elections, which has helped it avoid the polarization seen in the US.

The report uses a disaggregated and comparative approach to analyze this innovative electoral model and its potential impact on US governance, concluding that FFV offers real promise as an achievable and consequential reform.

For questions or comment related to the report, please contact:
General Inquires Contact:
Report Inquires Contact: Benjamin Reilly;; (808) 475-6039