IRV worked, let’s move on
Caleb Kleppner’s Sept. 17 commentary on ballot counting in Aspen’s city elections makes it clear that this first election with instant runoff voting was more transparent than previous elections, not less.
Voter turnout was higher than ever before. Not a single person in the mayor’s race failed to indicate a clear first choice. In that race, the winner Mick Ireland led after the first round, won under the rules as established before the election and would have defeated each of his opponents if paired against them one on one.
Ditto in the City Council races – the winners Derek Johnson and Torre led after the first round, won under the rules and would have defeated each of their opponents if paired against them one on one.
I can’t get worked up over these results as “controversial.” We came together as a community, we voted, and we picked the winners who deserved to win based on how we voted. Sure, it was close, and not everyone was happy with who won, but that’s Aspen. Six more weeks of campaigning would have given the candidates with more money a chance to spend it and might have given some of my favorite candidates another chance to win, but it could just as easily have cut the other way. Getting our winners in one efficient, high turnout election was why 77 percent of us voted to pass instant runoff voting in 2007. We were right.
It’s time to move on – we don’t need Newt Gingrich-style permanent campaigns and Karl Rove-style campaigns trying to stir up FUD – fear, uncertainty and doubt – about Aspen’s hardworking city staffers who did a great job running these elections. We don’t need the council and its watchdogs bickering again over the rules of their own election. The instant runoff voting system worked. It will work all the better as we use it again in 2011. Let’s vote this fall to keep it and put the May elections behind us once and for all.
David C. Richie
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