Saturday, July 28, 2007
Instant Runoff Voting
The July 27, 2007 edition of Almanac covered all 4 active political parties in Minnesota. The primary topic seemed to be instant runoff voting ( IRV). The Green, Independence, and DFL parties have endorsed IRV, while Republicans remain ignorant and/or afraid.
Most partisan Republicans are scared of IRV. After all, Norm Coleman thought Jessie Ventura would be a "spoiler" to the DFL by inviting him to the 1998 gubernatorial debates. Conservatives only vote for their party - but liberals tend to be less partisan to Democrats. Thus the elections of 2002 and 2006 went to Pawlenty because the Independence and Greens appear to have taken DFL votes ( because without IRV, no one really knows). Some even consider Ross Perot to be a spoiler that elected Bill Clinton.
Republicans claim that America has the most successful democracy, and we should not tinker with it. They question IRV's Constitutionality. The worst argument is the claim that IRV forces people to "vote against their values." Personally, I think IRV has served Ireland and other nations well since it was adopted. ( Ireland's economy has boomed since IRV's adoption there )
If IRV does anything, it will make all political parties more conscience of voters needs and wants. It will increase those able to participate in debates, and broaden the discussion of issues. IRV will bolster civic involvement beyond the 2-party system - towards a more equal system. The Republicans, being the last third party to break that threshold, seem the most adamant at keeping the status quo in place.
Does America want to continue voting and thinking in binary? Or do we in Minnesota want to reform our elections to improve our local democracy? I see nothing wrong with IRV as I supported it passing in Minneapolis. Now our twin city is contemplating it also. I urge you to support the Better Ballot Campaign in Saint Paul! The only obstacle are a few conservatives and MCCL. But it will still take effort to complete.