North Carolina voters in at least three counties (Buncombe, Cumberland and Rowan) will use Instant Runoff Voting to decide the winners in three Superior Court races this fall. Under state law (NCGS 163-329), vacancies on the Superior Court, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court which occur after the primary but more than 60 days before Election Day are filled through an election that allows voters to rank their choices. A wacko, free-for-all election in 2004 involving eight candidates for the Supreme Court prompted state legislators to add the Instant Runoff method; the winner of the 2004 race got less than 25% of the votes and is now a Supreme Court justice. The open Superior Count races are in Districts 12A (Cumberland), 19C (Rowan) and 28 (Buncombe); each race now has three candidates after a filing period that ended yesterday. It’s very likely that election officials will have trained volunteers at each polling site to help voters understand how the IRV method works: “Mark who you want to win as your first choice, and then mark a back-up choice in case your first choice is eliminated and there’s a runoff between the other two candidates; your vote stays with your first choice as long as that candidate is a contender.” Things could get interesting if Judge Jim Wynn, who has just been appointed to the federal court in Richmond, resigns this month and creates a vacancy that triggers a statewide IRV election for his NC Court of Appeals seat.