What electoral path to follow?
January 15, 2010
It is now more than two months since the voters repudiated, albeit narrowly, continuing instant runoff voting (IRV), and the clock is ticking toward the next election cycle. What’s next?
While the City Council has suggested appointing a citizens advisory board to study alternatives in elections requiring runoffs and to provide a recommendation, a more efficient option is mandated. This City Council is election savvy, it does not need pontification and lecturing from those who have not run for office. It does, however, need to act based on a well-rounded set of agreed facts defining 1) historically how has the city handled situations where no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, and 2) what alternatives exist other than those already used by the city. The decision-making process should be transparent, the decision-making basis known to all.
One mechanism would be establishing a publicly accessible knowledge base linked to the city website. City staff already has the institutional history to address the first issue. It also has or can easily acquire knowledge of contemporary techniques used in other jurisdictions, as well as theoretical possibilities to address the second issue. All of that could be easily input into the knowledge base for open access. If gaps exist, the public at large would have the ability to add responsible comment (please no blogger trash) into the same database. Final editing and compilation for consideration by council would remain under the control of the city, such as by the city clerk.
Council could then embark on the legislative process with a firm factual underpinning for any action taken, coupled with complete public transparency in the process.
Neil B. Siegel