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Secy of State press release, Missoulian article on withdrawl of I-144

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  • John Murray
    May 08, 2002 Advocate drops drive for instant runoff initiative By the Missoulian State Bureau HELENA - The sponsor of a proposed initiative to create
    Message 1 of 1 , May 16, 2002
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      May 08, 2002

      Advocate drops drive for 'instant runoff' initiative

      By the Missoulian State Bureau

      HELENA - The sponsor of a proposed initiative to create "instant runoff" elections in Montana has withdrawn the measure, the secretary of state's office said Monday.

      In a letter to Secretary of State Bob Brown, Matthew Singer of Billings said he wanted "to prevent ballot confusion resulting from an overabundance of ballot issues" for the 2002 election, a press release from Brown's office said.

      Five measures have qualified for the 2002 ballot, and another eight are pending. One was rejected by the attorney general and three, including Singer's, have been withdrawn.

      Singer's proposal would have asked voters to rank several choices when voting for state or federal offices with more than three candidates, rather than simply voting for one candidate.

      If no candidate received more than 50 percent of the first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes would be dropped. Votes from voters who picked the dropped candidate as their first choice would then go to the voters' second-choice candidates, and the process would continue until one candidate had more than 50 percent support.

      Similar proposals are being considered in other states.

      from the secretary of state website, May 6:

      Sponsor Withdraws ‘Instant Runoff Voting’ Initiative 

      The sponsor of a proposed initiative that would replace plurality voting with “instant runoff” voting has withdrawn the measure, according to Secretary of State Bob Brown. 

      Matthew Singer, of Billings, notified Brown in a letter received Monday that he has decided to withdraw Initiative 144 “in order to prevent ballot confusion resulting from an overabundance of ballot issues” already proposed for the November ballot. He noted that five measures already have qualified to appear on the ballot, while another seven initiative petitions are being circulated in order to collect the signatures needed to qualify them. 

      Singer’s proposal, similar to ones being considered in other states, would have required winning candidates to get more than half the votes cast in an election, not just the most votes. In state or federal races with three or more candidates, voters would be asked to rank the candidates in order of preference. Election judges would count all the first place votes, and, if no candidate received a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated. Ballots of voters who ranked that candidate first would be redistributed to the voters’ second-choice candidates. Multiple rounds of tabulation would continue until a candidate received a majority of votes. 

      The Center for Voting and Democracy, which supports such initiatives across the nation, contends on its Web site that the instant runoff system eliminates a “spoiler effect” and allows voters to vote for their favorite candidate without fear of helping to elect their least favorite candidate.

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