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FW: instantrunoff] Press Release: Burlington Has Second Highly Successful Instant Runoff Voting Election

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  • R & F Lee
    For Immediate Release March, 3, 2009 Contact: Rob Richie, Executive Director, FairVote (301) 270-4616 / rr@fairvote.org Burlington s Has Second Highly
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2009
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      For Immediate Release
      March, 3, 2009

      Contact:
      Rob Richie, Executive Director, FairVote
      (301) 270-4616 / rr@...


      Burlington's Has Second Highly Successful Instant Runoff Voting Election


      Incumbent mayor Bob Kiss won Burlington, Vermont's second instant runoff
      voting election for mayor in which voters had the power to rank five
      candidates in order of preference. First used in Burlington to elect its
      mayor in 2006, instant runoff voting (IRV) essentially combines a first
      round and a runoff election into one. Rob Richie, executive director of
      FairVote, observed that, "This year's instant runoff voting election again
      went smoothly, with ease for voters and a widely praised campaign."

      Catherine Rader, President of the League of Women Voters of Vermont, added
      that Burlington was able to identify the campaign's strongest candidate
      without having to resort to a runoff. "Runoffs too often result in far fewer
      votes being cast than the first round, adding costs to campaigns and
      increasing demands on taxpayers."

      The Burlington election was a model of clean, open debate without "spoiler"
      concerns. Democratic city councilor Bill Keogh was quoted in the local daily
      newspaper, the Burlington Free Press, as saying, "This campaign has been
      very, very good" and that the four leading candidates had been "as
      forthright as they can be with their views. This is the most respectful and
      informative campaign in Burlington in a long time."

      FairVote, the nation's leading resource on instant runoff voting, is pleased
      to work closely with many Vermont civic groups favoring IRV such as the
      League of Women Voters of Vermont, Vermont Common Cause and Vermont PIRG.
      Burlington's method of IRV has been used for decades to elect the highest
      offices in nations like Australia and Ireland and recently adopted for
      elections in major cities like San Francisco (CA), Minneapolis (MN), and
      Memphis (TN). It has also earned the active support of both President Barack
      Obama and Senator John McCain.

      As in 2006, the Burlington mayoral election was unusual by American
      standards because there were four serious candidates who were all seen as
      having a real chance of winning. Under typical American plurality election
      rules, this would have created great concerns about "spoiler" problems in
      which the majority might be split among similar candidates, allowing a less
      popular candidate to win with well under 50%. Instant runoff voting protects
      majority rule by guaranteeing that the least popular candidate cannot win
      the election, as can happen with a traditional plurality system.

      This year, with so many viable choices, no candidate won an outright
      majority of more than 50% of first choices - indeed, plurality winner Kurt
      Wright won only a third of the initial vote. The election went to an instant
      runoff tally. In the instant runoff, the candidates with the fewest votes
      were dropped, including independent Dan Smith and Democrat Andy Montroll,
      and the field was narrowed to two finalists. In the final instant runoff
      round, every ballot counted as a single vote for whichever of the two
      finalists, Progressive mayor Bob Kiss or Republican Kurt Wright, was ranked
      higher on each ballot. By 8:25 p.m. the IRV tally was completed and Kiss had
      been re-elected, defeating Wright in the final round by 51.5% to 48.5%.

      FairVote (www.fairvote. <http://www.fairvote.org/> org ) is a non-profit,
      non-partisan organization that advocates for fair elections. For more
      information, contact it executive director Rob Richie at (301) 270-4616.


      - end -







      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "The Way Democracy Will Be"

      Rob Richie
      Executive Director

      FairVote
      6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 610
      Takoma Park, MD 20912
      www.fairvote. <http://www.fairvote.org/> org rr@...
      (301) 270-4616

      Please support FairVote through action and donations. For
      federal employees, please consider a gift to us through the
      Combined Federal Campaign (FairVote's CFC number is 10132.)
      For more, see http://fairvote. <http://fairvote.org/donate> org/donate --
      Thank you!





      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "The Way Democracy Will Be"

      Rob Richie
      Executive Director

      FairVote
      6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 610
      Takoma Park, MD 20912
      www.fairvote. <http://www.fairvote.org/> org rr@...
      (301) 270-4616

      Please support FairVote through action and donations. For
      federal employees, please consider a gift to us through the
      Combined Federal Campaign (FairVote's CFC number is 10132.)
      For more, see http://fairvote. <http://fairvote.org/donate> org/donate --
      Thank you!
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