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City attorney update

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  • Eric Barr
    Hello, I tried contacting the city attorney here in Kansas City to ask if he saw any legal conflicts to using IRV for city elections. Much like when I tried
    Message 1 of 2 , May 8, 2007
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      Hello,

      I tried contacting the city attorney here in Kansas City to ask if he
      saw any legal conflicts to using IRV for city elections. Much like
      when I tried to contact the Attorney General, I was routed to an
      assistant. This assistant wasn't as helpful as the AG's. She
      similarly said that they can't give opinions on legislation that has
      not passed. And she said that since I was talking about a change to
      the city charter, I should be talking to the City Council. I talked
      to one city council candidate before the elections, but that person
      wasn't elected. So now I plan to try to make an appointment to talk
      to the new city council member elected a couple months ago.

      Before I talk to city council, I'm hoping to get some suggested
      language for a city charter change. I'm wondering if anyone here has
      any ideas for that. Otherwise I might look to FairVote. Based on
      other cities, I believe it should be something as simple as "The City
      authorizes the use of Instant Runoff Voting for all City elections."
      Then it becomes the responsibility of the election board to implement
      it.

      Thanks,
      Eric
    • Mark Haim
      Hello Eric and all, It is really good, Eric, to hear that you are working to move this forward. Personally, between opposing the insanity of this war, fighting
      Message 2 of 2 , May 12, 2007
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        Hello Eric and all,
         
        It is really good, Eric, to hear that you are working to move this forward.
         
        Personally, between opposing the insanity of this war, fighting a new generation of nukes, trying to keep our sustainability education efforts on track, keeping the Peace Nook together, etc., and having at least some modicum of life outside of political work, I just don't have time right now to work on the IRV issue.
         
        This said, I still think that it is a critically important and needed democracy reform, and I think it is essential if the Greens, or any other party outside of the duopoly, is to make any serious inroads.
         
        I am frustrated that this has been simmering at least since 2001, and there still is no definitive word as to whether IRV would pass muster under Missouri's constitution and state election law.
         
        It is very clear to me that a lawyer who is good at researching the law, including the case law, needs to look at this. Unless this is done, the MO IRV effort will never get off dead zero.
         
        It would seem to me that if a concerted effort was made to find a pro bono attorney who would do this was made, that someone might surface. If not, I would suggest that it would be worthwhile for the Greens and the Libertarians to get together and raise enough money to pay a somewhat sympathetic lawyer who might do the needed research for an affordable price.
         
        It could be that the law is clear and localities can enact IRV. Then KC, Columbia or any other city can move forward, draft a proposed amendment to the city charter and see if they can garner enough support, either from the city council or the voters.
         
        If the law is grey enough so there won't be a clear answer, a campaign could be put together anyway, and once the change passes, the matter would be adjudicated.
         
        If, on the other hand, it turns out that it is clearly unconstitutional, or in violation of state election law, that would change the locus of a campaign from the local to the state level.
         
        It is, I think, essential to get on a solid legal footing and then decide how to move forward.
         
        Sorry I can't do more.
         
        All the best,
        Mark Haim
         
        P.S. When things start moving forward, I will be happy to get the word out via my radio show on KOPN, which, BTW, is now available by live stream each Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. and after the fact on demand by podcast at www.kopn.org 
         
        Mark Haim
        1402 Richardson St.
        Columbia, MO 65201
        573-442-2360

        E-mail:  mhaim@...
        -----Original Message-----
        From: InstantRunoffMO@yahoogroups.com [mailto:InstantRunoffMO@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Eric Barr
        Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2007 8:09 AM
        To: InstantRunoffMO@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [InstantRunoffMO] City attorney update

        Hello,

        I tried contacting the city attorney here in Kansas City to ask if he
        saw any legal conflicts to using IRV for city elections. Much like
        when I tried to contact the Attorney General, I was routed to an
        assistant. This assistant wasn't as helpful as the AG's. She
        similarly said that they can't give opinions on legislation that has
        not passed. And she said that since I was talking about a change to
        the city charter, I should be talking to the City Council. I talked
        to one city council candidate before the elections, but that person
        wasn't elected. So now I plan to try to make an appointment to talk
        to the new city council member elected a couple months ago.

        Before I talk to city council, I'm hoping to get some suggested
        language for a city charter change. I'm wondering if anyone here has
        any ideas for that. Otherwise I might look to FairVote. Based on
        other cities, I believe it should be something as simple as "The City
        authorizes the use of Instant Runoff Voting for all City elections."
        Then it becomes the responsibility of the election board to implement
        it.

        Thanks,
        Eric

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