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Editorial: IRV Commits Political Suicide

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  • Gary
    For Goodtimes and Paradise.... check out the Green Party of Colorado! ;-) Does anybody really use this listserve except for dating service spammers? Hi Dennis,
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 3 10:58 PM
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      For Goodtimes and Paradise.... check out the Green Party of
      Colorado! ;-)

      Does anybody really use this listserve except for dating service
      spammers? Hi Dennis, I see you posted something two months ago.

      Here's an on-topic message from someone who hasn't jumped on the
      instant runoff bandwagon, yours truly.

      I sent the following editorial to seven Colorado newspapers. The
      editor of the Colorado Statesman weekly political newspaper said she
      published it on March 31st, but I haven't seen it yet.

      Cheers,

      Gary



      IRV COMMITS POLITICAL SUICIDE

      Dear editor:

      Rick VanWie is running as a Green Party candidate for Secretary
      of State, Colorado's chief administrative office in charge of
      elections and licensing. On his website, www.rickforsos.com, he
      pledges to "investigate how our elections can better represent our
      citizens. This means new ways of voting, including those systems
      that are being used by other democracies around the world."

      The only alternative voting system that Rick explains and
      promotes is instant runoff voting, or IRV. Instant runoff voting
      allows voters to rank candidates for a single office in their order
      of preference. If no candidate wins a majority of first choice
      votes, candidates in last place are eliminated and the voter's next
      choice is counted until one candidate has a majority. For further
      explanation, see www.fairvote.org.


      Unlike proportional representation voting systems, which are
      used for parliamentary (legislative) elections in most democratic
      countries, IRV is uncommon and does not provide fair political
      representation. IRV is a form of "winner-take-all" voting, meaning
      that only one candidate is elected by the vote, while supporters of
      other candidates get no representation.

      Proportional representation is a term for various voting
      methods that enable political parties or candidates to be elected to
      multi-member bodies such as legislatures, councils, and boards in
      proportion to their share of the total vote cast for all candidates
      for all seats on the representative body. For example, if Colorado's
      65 member state house of representatives were elected by a true
      system of proportional representation, a minor party or independent
      state representative could be elected with 1.54% of the state vote.

      The basic idea behind proportional representation is that the
      right of decision belongs to the majority, but the right of
      representation belongs to all. Under proportional voting systems,
      nearly all voters are able to elect legislative representatives of
      their choice. The lack of proportional representation in the United
      States is the primary reason why the United States has just two --
      virtually indistinguishable – corporate parties in government while
      representative democracies have more parties in their parliaments.
      Green Parties in Europe are politically viable because of
      proportional representation.

      Douglas Amy's book, "Real Choices/New Voices: The Case for
      Proportional Voting in the United States," explains various forms of
      proportional representation. Most representative democracies
      have "party list" systems in which voters may cast votes for a
      party's list of legislative candidates, or for individual candidates
      within a list (or across lists). Seats are then allocated in
      proportion to the vote cast for each party. The single transferable
      vote (STV) is another system which uses the same mechanism of ranked
      choice voting as IRV, but STV provides proportional representation
      because candidates run in multi-member districts. Instead of needing
      50% of the vote to win, a candidate in a nine member district would
      be elected with just over 1/10 of the vote.

      George Hallett devised a sophisticated proportional voting
      system (not included in Amy's book) which combines STV's ranked
      choice voting with party lists to maximize individual's freedom of
      choice and the effectiveness of each voter's ballot. The individual
      voter could either cast a simple vote for a party or a detailed vote
      ranking candidates regardless of their party affiliation. By adding
      a party logo to ballots, even illiterate voters could use this
      system.

      IRV is a distraction from real election reform. The real issue
      is proportional representation. IRV is appropriate for single-winner
      administrative offices like president and governor, but it is
      political suicide for the Green Party to promote IRV for
      legislative, board, and council elections. The only political power
      that minor parties have in the United States today is the potential
      to "split the vote" in marginal races. This may create an incentive
      for major party candidates to pay some attention to issues that
      could draw voters to minor parties. Existing winner-take-all,
      plurality voting systems marginalize minor parties. Instant runoff
      voting would neutralize them entirely. It would take away their
      political power to split the vote without giving them the
      opportunity to win fair representation in government.

      If the Green Party were serious about election reform, it would
      promote proportional representation for legislative elections. This
      would enable minor parties to become politically viable and give
      voters a meaningful, effective choice. Why is the Green Party so
      stubbornly opposed to real election reform and determined to pursue
      a course of self-destruction?

      Gary Swing
      Glendale, CO

      Gary Swing was a Green Party candidate for state representative in
      Denver in 1996 and a volunteer election reform lobbyist for the
      Green Party in the mid-1990s.
    • Marc Cittone
      Glad to see some posts here. My thoughts on IRV and Proportional Voting: 1) We have to start somewhere. While IRV is common-sensical to our winner-take-all
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 4 7:30 AM
      • 0 Attachment

        Glad to see some posts here.

        My thoughts on IRV and Proportional Voting:

        1) We have to start somewhere.  While IRV is common-sensical to our winner-take-all system, and to any executive elections where the people vote directly, it is still an uphill battle getting people to understand and support even this change (until it starts to catch on).  While not proportionate, IRV does eliminate a major problem that should be important to "third" parties: the fear (and reality) of spoilers and "wasting" one's vote, which influences both how people vote and who runs for office.  People learn by experience more so than by fact and argument, especially in today's media climate.  Having more than two viable choices on the ballot will be one of the strongest experiences that could lead people to think proportional voting makes sense.

        2)  Check out the "German" voting system (actually devised by American political scientists after the war) called mixed member proportional.  This system has been considered popular, effective and undertsandable, so much so that New Zealand adopted it in the 90s (abandoning our British winner-take-all system), and it has been proposed as the alternative of choice by reformers in the UK and Canada.  Essentially, voters vote twice on their ballot: once for a candidate in their single-member district, and once for a party they prefer to control the legislative body.  Once all the single-member district candidates are chosen (by winner-take-all), then additional party list candidates are added until the partisan makeup of the legislature looks roughly like the party votes of the people.  Seems people are able to identify with this system, and instinctually identify with having a district representative, which gives it a better chance of being adopted by winner-take all nations.  Let's face it, voters tend to distrust party even in the PR countries, if you look at the polls.

        Just my two cents.

        - Marc


        From: "Gary" <homelessontherange@...>
        Reply-To: InstantRunoffCO@yahoogroups.com
        To: InstantRunoffCO@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [InstantRunoffCO] Editorial: IRV Commits Political Suicide
        Date: Tue, 04 Apr 2006 05:58:39 -0000

        For Goodtimes and Paradise.... check out the Green Party of
        Colorado! ;-)

        Does anybody really use this listserve except for dating service
        spammers? Hi Dennis, I see you posted something two months ago.

        Here's an on-topic message from someone who hasn't jumped on the
        instant runoff bandwagon, yours truly.

        I sent the following editorial to seven Colorado newspapers. The
        editor of the Colorado Statesman weekly political newspaper said she
        published it on March 31st, but I haven't seen it yet.

        Cheers,

        Gary

         

        IRV COMMITS POLITICAL SUICIDE

        Dear editor:

             Rick VanWie is running as a Green Party candidate for Secretary
        of State, Colorado's chief administrative office in charge of
        elections and licensing. On his website, www.rickforsos.com, he
        pledges to "investigate how our elections can better represent our
        citizens. This means new ways of voting, including those systems
        that are being used by other democracies around the world."

             The only alternative voting system that Rick explains and
        promotes is instant runoff voting, or IRV. Instant runoff voting
        allows voters to rank candidates for a single office in their order
        of preference. If no candidate wins a majority of first choice
        votes, candidates in last place are eliminated and the voter's next
        choice is counted until one candidate has a majority. For further
        explanation, see www.fairvote.org.


             Unlike proportional representation voting systems, which are
        used for parliamentary (legislative) elections in most democratic
        countries, IRV is uncommon and does not provide fair political
        representation. IRV is a form of "winner-take-all" voting, meaning
        that only one candidate is elected by the vote, while supporters of
        other candidates get no representation.

             Proportional representation is a term for various voting
        methods that enable political parties or candidates to be elected to
        multi-member bodies such as legislatures, councils, and boards in
        proportion to their share of the total vote cast for all candidates
        for all seats on the representative body. For example, if Colorado's
        65 member state house of representatives were elected by a true
        system of proportional representation, a minor party or independent
        state representative could be elected with 1.54% of the state vote.

             The basic idea behind proportional representation is that the
        right of decision belongs to the majority, but the right of
        representation belongs to all. Under proportional voting systems,
        nearly all voters are able to elect legislative representatives of
        their choice. The lack of proportional representation in the United
        States is the primary reason why the United States has just two --
        virtually indistinguishable � corporate parties in government while
        representative democracies have more parties in their parliaments.
        Green Parties in Europe are politically viable because of
        proportional representation.

             Douglas Amy's book, "Real Choices/New Voices: The Case for
        Proportional Voting in the United States," explains various forms of
        proportional representation. Most representative democracies
        have "party list" systems in which voters may cast votes for a
        party's list of legislative candidates, or for individual candidates
        within a list (or across lists). Seats are then allocated in
        proportion to the vote cast for each party. The single transferable
        vote (STV) is another system which uses the same mechanism of ranked
        choice voting as IRV, but STV provides proportional representation
        because candidates run in multi-member districts. Instead of needing
        50% of the vote to win, a candidate in a nine member district would
        be elected with just over 1/10 of the vote.

             George Hallett devised a sophisticated proportional voting
        system (not included in Amy's book) which combines STV's ranked
        choice voting with party lists to maximize individual's freedom of
        choice and the effectiveness of each voter's ballot. The individual
        voter could either cast a simple vote for a party or a detailed vote
        ranking candidates regardless of their party affiliation. By adding
        a party logo to ballots, even illiterate voters could use this
        system.

             IRV is a distraction from real election reform. The real issue
        is proportional representation. IRV is appropriate for single-winner
        administrative offices like president and governor, but it is
        political suicide for the Green Party to promote IRV for
        legislative, board, and council elections. The only political power
        that minor parties have in the United States today is the potential
        to "split the vote" in marginal races. This may create an incentive
        for major party candidates to pay some attention to issues that
        could draw voters to minor parties. Existing winner-take-all,
        plurality voting systems marginalize minor parties. Instant runoff
        voting would neutralize them entirely. It would take away their
        political power to split the vote without giving them the
        opportunity to win fair representation in government.

             If the Green Party were serious about election reform, it would
        promote proportional representation for legislative elections. This
        would enable minor parties to become politically viable and give
        voters a meaningful, effective choice. Why is the Green Party so
        stubbornly opposed to real election reform and determined to pursue
        a course of self-destruction?

        Gary Swing
        Glendale, CO

        Gary Swing was a Green Party candidate for state representative in
        Denver in 1996 and a volunteer election reform lobbyist for the
        Green Party in the mid-1990s.









        YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS





      • David McDonald
        I don t think IRV will marginalize third parties. It will enable candidates from outside the two major parties to actually win elections. This will mean that
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 4 3:42 PM
        • 0 Attachment
          I don't think IRV will marginalize third parties. It will enable candidates from outside the two major parties to actually win elections. This will mean that the democrats will have to do better than being slightly less evil than the republicans if they want people's votes

          proportional representation would be great but it would require a new amendment to be ratified to the U.S. Constitution. This would never happen without IRV first, because it is contrary to the interests of the two major parties.

          On the other hand, IRV can be implemented directly by the voters by state constitutional ballot initiatives. Bypassing the legislatures intirely is the only way this can be done.

          Gary <homelessontherange@...> wrote:
          For Goodtimes and Paradise.... check out the Green Party of
          Colorado! ;-)

          Does anybody really use this listserve except for dating service
          spammers? Hi Dennis, I see you posted something two months ago.

          Here's an on-topic message from someone who hasn't jumped on the
          instant runoff bandwagon, yours truly.

          I sent the following editorial to seven Colorado newspapers. The
          editor of the Colorado Statesman weekly political newspaper said she
          published it on March 31st, but I haven't seen it yet.

          Cheers,

          Gary

           

          IRV COMMITS POLITICAL SUICIDE

          Dear editor:

               Rick VanWie is running as a Green Party candidate for Secretary
          of State, Colorado's chief administrative office in charge of
          elections and licensing. On his website, www.rickforsos.com, he
          pledges to "investigate how our elections can better represent our
          citizens. This means new ways of voting, including those systems
          that are being used by other democracies around the world."

               The only alternative voting system that Rick explains and
          promotes is instant runoff voting, or IRV. Instant runoff voting
          allows voters to rank candidates for a single office in their order
          of preference. If no candidate wins a majority of first choice
          votes, candidates in last place are eliminated and the voter's next
          choice is counted until one candidate has a majority. For further
          explanation, see www.fairvote.org.


               Unlike proportional representation voting systems, which are
          used for parliamentary (legislative) elections in most democratic
          countries, IRV is uncommon and does not provide fair political
          representation. IRV is a form of "winner-take-all" voting, meaning
          that only one candidate is elected by the vote, while supporters of
          other candidates get no representation.

               Proportional representation is a term for various voting
          methods that enable political parties or candidates to be elected to
          multi-member bodies such as legislatures, councils, and boards in
          proportion to their share of the total vote cast for all candidates
          for all seats on the representative body. For example, if Colorado's
          65 member state house of representatives were elected by a true
          system of proportional representation, a minor party or independent
          state representative could be elected with 1.54% of the state vote.

               The basic idea behind proportional representation is that the
          right of decision belongs to the majority, but the right of
          representation belongs to all. Under proportional voting systems,
          nearly all voters are able to elect legislative representatives of
          their choice. The lack of proportional representation in the United
          States is the primary reason why the United States has just two --
          virtually indistinguishable � corporate parties in government while
          representative democracies have more parties in their parliaments.
          Green Parties in Europe are politically viable because of
          proportional representation.

               Douglas Amy's book, "Real Choices/New Voices: The Case for
          Proportional Voting in the United States," explains various forms of
          proportional representation. Most representative democracies
          have "party list" systems in which voters may cast votes for a
          party's list of legislative candidates, or for individual candidates
          within a list (or across lists). Seats are then allocated in
          proportion to the vote cast for each party. The single transferable
          vote (STV) is another system which uses the same mechanism of ranked
          choice voting as IRV, but STV provides proportional representation
          because candidates run in multi-member districts. Instead of needing
          50% of the vote to win, a candidate in a nine member district would
          be elected with just over 1/10 of the vote.

               George Hallett devised a sophisticated proportional voting
          system (not included in Amy's book) which combines STV's ranked
          choice voting with party lists to maximize individual's freedom of
          choice and the effectiveness of each voter's ballot. The individual
          voter could either cast a simple vote for a party or a detailed vote
          ranking candidates regardless of their party affiliation. By adding
          a party logo to ballots, even illiterate voters could use this
          system.

               IRV is a distraction from real election reform. The real issue
          is proportional representation. IRV is appropriate for single-winner
          administrative offices like president and governor, but it is
          political suicide for the Green Party to promote IRV for
          legislative, board, and council elections. The only political power
          that minor parties have in the United States today is the potential
          to "split the vote" in marginal races. This may create an incentive
          for major party candidates to pay some attention to issues that
          could draw voters to minor parties. Existing winner-take-all,
          plurality voting systems marginalize minor parties. Instant runoff
          voting would neutralize them entirely. It would take away their
          political power to split the vote without giving them the
          opportunity to win fair representation in government.

               If the Green Party were serious about election reform, it would
          promote proportional representation for legislative elections. This
          would enable minor parties to become politically viable and give
          voters a meaningful, effective choice. Why is the Green Party so
          stubbornly opposed to real election reform and determined to pursue
          a course of self-destruction?

          Gary Swing
          Glendale, CO

          Gary Swing was a Green Party candidate for state representative in
          Denver in 1996 and a volunteer election reform lobbyist for the
          Green Party in the mid-1990s.








        • Gary Swing
          Proportional representation does not require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution for the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, county
          Message 4 of 6 , Apr 4 5:01 PM
          • 0 Attachment
            Proportional representation does not require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution for the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, county commissioners, city and town councils, the RTD board, the Board of Regents, and the State Board of Education. Abolishing the U.S. Senate or electing it by a system of proportional representation would require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Electing the U.S. House of Representatives could be done on a state-by-state basis if the Voting Rights Act (a federal statute) were revised to allow Congressional candidates to be elected at-large, instead of by district. Rep. Cynthia McKinney has tried to get that provision repealed. Electing the entire U.S. House of Representatives on a truly proportional basis nationwide would, however, require a U.S. Constitutional amendment.  
             
            I drafted proposed state constitutional ballot initiatives in the late 1990s to conduct elections for multi-member bodies by various forms of proportional representation, with single-winner offices to be elected by IRV, but I had no organizational support or financing to push initiatives beyond the title setting process. In at least one of my proposals, I wrote it so that Colorado's delegation of U.S. Representatives would have been elected proportionally, if permitted by Congress (ie: revising the Voting Rights Act).
             
            IRV won't make a difference in electing minor party candidates unless you have high-profile celebrities or extremely wealthy candidates running, who avoid discussing controversial issues. There are too many other obstacles, particularly the corporate media shutting out political alternatives and campaign financing. The other serious problem with winner-take-all voting systems like IRV and plurality voting is that they appeal to the lowest common denominator. Candidates who don't say anything to "offend" the sensibilities of voters will continue to be elected. It would support the status quo. People don't want to hear that they have been lied to by the government and the media all their lives. Candidates who challenge established majority views will only win fair representation through voting systems that allow for the representation of political minorities. The larger the plurality-majority-supermajority vote that is required, the less likely it is for candidates espousing alternative (minority) viewpoints to be elected.
             
            I agree that bypassing legislatures is the only way to get real election reform passed, by real election reform could be accomplished first at the state level.
             
            Gary

            David McDonald <newalzira@...> wrote:
            I don't think IRV will marginalize third parties. It will enable candidates from outside the two major parties to actually win elections. This will mean that the democrats will have to do better than being slightly less evil than the republicans if they want people's votes

            proportional representation would be great but it would require a new amendment to be ratified to the U.S. Constitution. This would never happen without IRV first, because it is contrary to the interests of the two major parties.

            On the other hand, IRV can be implemented directly by the voters by state constitutional ballot initiatives. Bypassing the legislatures intirely is the only way this can be done.

            Gary <homelessontherange@...> wrote:
            For Goodtimes and Paradise.... check out the Green Party of
            Colorado! ;-)

            Does anybody really use this listserve except for dating service
            spammers? Hi Dennis, I see you posted something two months ago.

            Here's an on-topic message from someone who hasn't jumped on the
            instant runoff bandwagon, yours truly.

            I sent the following editorial to seven Colorado newspapers. The
            editor of the Colorado Statesman weekly political newspaper said she
            published it on March 31st, but I haven't seen it yet.

            Cheers,

            Gary

             

            IRV COMMITS POLITICAL SUICIDE

            Dear editor:

                 Rick VanWie is running as a Green Party candidate for Secretary
            of State, Colorado's chief administrative office in charge of
            elections and licensing. On his website, www.rickforsos.com, he
            pledges to "investigate how our elections can better represent our
            citizens. This means new ways of voting, including those systems
            that are being used by other democracies around the world."

                 The only alternative voting system that Rick explains and
            promotes is instant runoff voting, or IRV. Instant runoff voting
            allows voters to rank candidates for a single office in their order
            of preference. If no candidate wins a majority of first choice
            votes, candidates in last place are eliminated and the voter's next
            choice is counted until one candidate has a majority. For further
            explanation, see www.fairvote.org.


                 Unlike proportional representation voting systems, which are
            used for parliamentary (legislative) elections in most democratic
            countries, IRV is uncommon and does not provide fair political
            representation. IRV is a form of "winner-take-all" voting, meaning
            that only one candidate is elected by the vote, while supporters of
            other candidates get no representation.

                 Proportional representation is a term for various voting
            methods that enable political parties or candidates to be elected to
            multi-member bodies such as legislatures, councils, and boards in
            proportion to their share of the total vote cast for all candidates
            for all seats on the representative body. For example, if Colorado's
            65 member state house of representatives were elected by a true
            system of proportional representation, a minor party or independent
            state representative could be elected with 1.54% of the state vote.

                 The basic idea behind proportional representation is that the
            right of decision belongs to the majority, but the right of
            representation belongs to all. Under proportional voting systems,
            nearly all voters are able to elect legislative representatives of
            their choice. The lack of proportional representation in the United
            States is the primary reason why the United States has just two --
            virtually indistinguishable � corporate parties in government while
            representative democracies have more parties in their parliaments.
            Green Parties in Europe are politically viable because of
            proportional representation.

                 Douglas Amy's book, "Real Choices/New Voices: The Case for
            Proportional Voting in the United States," explains various forms of
            proportional representation. Most representative democracies
            have "party list" systems in which voters may cast votes for a
            party's list of legislative candidates, or for individual candidates
            within a list (or across lists). Seats are then allocated in
            proportion to the vote cast for each party. The single transferable
            vote (STV) is another system which uses the same mechanism of ranked
            choice voting as IRV, but STV provides proportional representation
            because candidates run in multi-member districts. Instead of needing
            50% of the vote to win, a candidate in a nine member district would
            be elected with just over 1/10 of the vote.

                 George Hallett devised a sophisticated proportional voting
            system (not included in Amy's book) which combines STV's ranked
            choice voting with party lists to maximize individual's freedom of
            choice and the effectiveness of each voter's ballot. The individual
            voter could either cast a simple vote for a party or a detailed vote
            ranking candidates regardless of their party affiliation. By adding
            a party logo to ballots, even illiterate voters could use this
            system.

                 IRV is a distraction from real election reform. The real issue
            is proportional representation. IRV is appropriate for single-winner
            administrative offices like president and governor, but it is
            political suicide for the Green Party to promote IRV for
            legislative, board, and council elections. The only political power
            that minor parties have in the United States today is the potential
            to "split the vote" in marginal races. This may create an incentive
            for major party candidates to pay some attention to issues that
            could draw voters to minor parties. Existing winner-take-all,
            plurality voting systems marginalize minor parties. Instant runoff
            voting would neutralize them entirely. It would take away their
            political power to split the vote without giving them the
            opportunity to win fair representation in government.

                 If the Green Party were serious about election reform, it would
            promote proportional representation for legislative elections. This
            would enable minor parties to become politically viable and give
            voters a meaningful, effective choice. Why is the Green Party so
            stubbornly opposed to real election reform and determined to pursue
            a course of self-destruction?

            Gary Swing
            Glendale, CO

            Gary Swing was a Green Party candidate for state representative in
            Denver in 1996 and a volunteer election reform lobbyist for the
            Green Party in the mid-1990s.











            "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me." -- Noel Coward, playwright
             


            Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. Make PC-to-Phone Calls to the US (and 30+ countries) for 2¢/min or less.

          • Gary Swing
            Thanks, Marc. It s easy to understand how to vote under IRV or STV or party lists, depending upon how their set up. The mechanics of vote transfer can be more
            Message 5 of 6 , Apr 4 5:34 PM
            • 0 Attachment
              Thanks, Marc.
               
              It's easy to understand how to vote under IRV or STV or party lists, depending upon how their set up. The mechanics of vote transfer can be more difficult to understand, depending upon the system, but the effects of different voting systems are easy to understand. Most representative democracies use some form of PR, so why should it be so hard for Americans to understand? People just need to be educated about better ways to do things. The same ranked-choice ballot system used for IRV can be used for multi-member elections to provide proportional representation, so why waste time and effort trying to implement IRV for legislatures?
               
              As for wasting one's vote, any time you cast a vote and end up not getting the kind of representation you want, you are wasting your vote. I know that I will never have any political representation in the United States for any office that I care about either by pluarlity voting or by IRV. I wouldn't even rank any candidates who had a chance of being elected to significant public office in the United States because they don't represent me. In most cases, you still won't have more than one viable candidate. Election results in single-member districts are determined primarily by the demographics of the district.
               
              The German/New Zealand system of mixed-member proportional representation is considered a compromise between the winner-take-all, single member district system and party list systems. I wrote language for an initiative for MMPR for the Colorado state legislature once, but personally I oppose single member districts for legislative elections. I think majority voting inherently promotes kakistocracy (government by the least qualified or least principled people).
               
              Gary

              Marc Cittone <mcittone@...> wrote:
              Glad to see some posts here.
              My thoughts on IRV and Proportional Voting:
              1) We have to start somewhere.  While IRV is common-sensical to our winner-take-all system, and to any executive elections where the people vote directly, it is still an uphill battle getting people to understand and support even this change (until it starts to catch on).  While not proportionate, IRV does eliminate a major problem that should be important to "third" parties: the fear (and reality) of spoilers and "wasting" one's vote, which influences both how people vote and who runs for office.  People learn by experience more so than by fact and argument, especially in today's media climate.  Having more than two viable choices on the ballot will be one of the strongest experiences that could lead people to think proportional voting makes sense.
              2)  Check out the "German" voting system (actually devised by American political scientists after the war) called mixed member proportional.  This system has been considered popular, effective and undertsandable, so much so that New Zealand adopted it in the 90s (abandoning our British winner-take-all system), and it has been proposed as the alternative of choice by reformers in the UK and Canada.  Essentially, voters vote twice on their ballot: once for a candidate in their single-member district, and once for a party they prefer to control the legislative body.  Once all the single-member district candidates are chosen (by winner-take-all), then additional party list candidates are added until the partisan makeup of the legislature looks roughly like the party votes of the people.  Seems people are able to identify with this system, and instinctually identify with having a district representative, which gives it a better chance of being adopted by winner-take all nations.  Let's face it, voters tend to distrust party even in the PR countries, if you look at the polls.
              Just my two cents.
              - Marc


              "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me." -- Noel Coward, playwright
               


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            • Gary Swing
              This is my last post for today. I just wanted to let y all know that a shorter version of my IRV Commits Political Suicide letter was published in the
              Message 6 of 6 , Apr 4 5:44 PM
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                This is my last post for today. I just wanted to let y'all know that a shorter version of my "IRV Commits Political Suicide" letter was published in the Colorado Daily on March 30th (Boulder). Since I don't live in Boulder, I don't have a paper copy. In additional to the Colorado Statesman, where it was published, I sent it to the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Denver Daily News, Boulder Weekly, and Boulder Daily Camera. I haven't checked the Boulder Camera, but the other four papers have not published it.
                 
                IRV proponents, Green Party members, and or Rick Van Wie could use this opportunity to promote their views, by writing responses and debating my argument in the print media. I think debating it in s more public forum would be educational. :-)
                 
                Cheers,
                 
                Gary



                "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me." -- Noel Coward, playwright
                 


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