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Action Alert: Instant runoff voting bill in U.S. House

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  • marc guttman
    On Oct. 8, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. [D-Illinois] introduced a bill (H.R. 5293, the Majority Vote Act of 2004) that would require all states to conduct
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 11, 2005
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      "On Oct. 8, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. [D-Illinois] introduced a bill (H.R. 5293, the Majority Vote Act of 2004) that would require all states to conduct general elections for federal office using an instant runoff voting [IRV] system. If approved as presented, the legislation would require all states to comply by 2008."
       
      If you'd like to learn more about instant runoff voting you can go to: What is Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)? and The Case for IRV and http://www.chrisgates.net/irv/ and http://www.instantrunoff.com/ and http://www.fairvote.org/ 
       
      I encourage you to take 2 minutes (you can use the easy http://www.congress.org) to write to your representatives and tell them you support bill H.R. 5293, the Majority Vote Act of 2004, because I think it would be an improvement and beneficial.  Please encourage others to do the same.  Feel free to forward this message.
       
      Thanks,
      Marc
       
      Instant runoff voting bill in U.S. House

      On Oct. 8, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. [D-Illinois] introduced a bill (H.R. 5293, the Majority Vote Act of 2004) that would require all states to conduct general elections for federal office using an instant runoff voting [IRV] system. If approved as presented, the legislation would require all states to comply by 2008.

      Upon being submitted, Jackson's bill was referred to the House Committee on House Administration for review. It had no co-sponsors.

      Because a new Congress has been elected, Jackson will in 2005 have to decide whether he wants to re-submit the bill for consideration.

      The Web site www.FairVote.com quotes Jackson as saying, "The term 'instant runoff voting system' means a system for the election of candidates under which 'runoff counts' of candidates are conducted in rounds.

      "Voters vote by ranking candidates on the ballot according to the order of their preference. If in any round no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated and the remaining candidates advance to the next round. In each round a voter shall be considered to have cast one vote for the candidate the voter ranked highest on the ballot that has not been eliminated. The runoff counts are carried out automatically at the time the votes are cast and tabulated so there is no actual second election. [Candidates are] elected only when they reach 50 percent plus one."

      On the local level, IRV is slowly gaining popularity across the nation; elections in San Francisco were held using IRV on Nov. 2 -- and a majority of city voters who were polled by a local newspaper said they liked the new system and would not want to return to the old system.

      Also on Nov. 2, three communities -- in Michigan, Vermont and Massachusetts -- approved the use of IRV in elections.

      In Ferndale, Mich., voters approved amending the city charter to provide for the election of the mayor and city council through IRV; voters in Burlington, Vermont, overwhelmingly approved amending the city charter to use IRV in mayoral elections; and voters in 16 western Massachusetts towns approved a non-binding motion in support of IRV -- directing state representative Steve Kulik to vote in favor of legislation or a constitutional amendment to require IRV for elections to statewide office.

      The Libertarian Party Platform -- in its Election Laws section -- proposes "electoral systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels," specifically calling for the use of "proportional voting systems with multi-member districts for legislative elections and instant runoff voting for single-winner elections" as a transitional step toward better election law.


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