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Letter to the Richmond Times-Dispatch

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  • nathanlarson3141
    Here is a letter I wrote to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Please let me know if you have any suggestions about how to explain/pitch IRV more effectively.
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 17, 2006
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      Here is a letter I wrote to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Please let me
      know if you have any suggestions about how to explain/pitch IRV more
      effectively. Thanks, -Nathan

      ---
      Nathan Larson
      9270 Prospect Avenue
      Catlett, VA 20119
      Home: (540) 788-4945
      Cell: (703) 298-3838

      Editor:

      It is interesting that, as the recent article, "Allen, Webb to debate
      on national TV," points out, only 2% of likely voters responded in
      favor of Independent Green Gail Parker when asked who they would vote
      for if the U.S. Senate election were held today. Yet, a June 2006 Fox
      News/Opinion Dynamics survey suggests that 50% of Americans favor a
      viable third party. Why do minor-party candidates consistently poll
      poorly, despite the large number of Americans who want a third party
      to succeed? I believe it has much to do with our voting system.

      Most people prefer to cast their ballot for a candidate who has a
      reasonable chance of winning so that their vote isn't wasted. Even
      those dissatisfied with the two major parties' candidates tend to
      either vote for a Republican or a Democrat, or stay home. But what if
      it we could vote for a third party and still have an impact on who
      wins the election? It is possible under a system known as Instant
      Runoff Voting.

      Under IRV, you select the candidate who would be your first choice, as
      under the current system - and you also have the option of choosing a
      second and third choice. If, after the votes are tallied, it turns out
      that the candidate who was your first choice received the fewest
      votes, then your vote is transferred to your second choice. If your
      second choice loses as well, then your vote is transferred to your
      third choice. The candidate with the majority of votes wins the
      election. An animation illustrating this system is available at
      http://www.sfrcv.com/vote/ .

      IRV is currently used in Vermont, North Carolina, and San Francisco.
      Minneapolis and other localities are considering implementing it as
      well. I encourage readers to ask their legislators to adopt IRV in
      Virginia.

      Nathan Larson
      Catlett

      ---
      Sources:
      Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll -
      http://www.pollingreport.com/institut2.htm
      IRV Flash Animations - http://www.fairvote.org/?page=1872
      Election Runoffs as Easy as 1, 2, 3? -
      http://www.jdnews.com/SiteProcessor.cfm?Template=/GlobalTemplates/Details.cfm&StoryID=44236&Section=News
      San Francisco Successfully Uses Ranked Choice Voting for Citywide
      Elections, Nov. 2005 - http://www.sfrcv.com/
      Progressive Bob Kiss Elected Mayor of Burlington -
      http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/47/18272
      Minneapolis Better Ballot Campaign -
      http://www.betterballotcampaign.org/BBC/home

      Other links:
      HB 2739 - http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?031+sum+HB2739
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