Keep IRV, vote no on 2B | AspenTimes.com

Keep IRV, vote no on 2B

Dear Editor:

Jon Stewart will be in Washington, D.C., for this weekend’s “plea for sanity” rally. That title makes sense in relation to instant runoff voting in Aspen. IRV worked well in 2009, with the highest city election turnout in Aspen history and with voters handling the new ballot easily. But after a steady stream of misleading invective, IRV faces repeal.

Seeking to keep the debate grounded in fact, note:

• Counting IRV ballots does not require software. Last year Minneapolis elected more than 20 candidates with IRV with hand-counts ‚ and now many Minnesota leaders seek to use IRV statewide.

• Runoffs allow many more weeks of campaigning, to be sure, but they also are a dream for masters of attack politics. Campaign spending matters most when every vote lost by the other side automatically helps you win.

• With IRV, a City Council candidate strongly opposed by 51 percent of voters will lose. But repealing IRV would bring back the “spoiler” problem. That candidate could win without a runoff even if winning only 45 percent.

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• Litigation against Aspen wasn’t due to IRV. Anyone can be sued for anything. But the judge dismissed the case and required Aspen to be reimbursed for its costs.

• Ranking only one candidate with a “bullet vote” does not help that candidate. In an instant runoff, a ballot only counts for your lower choice if your top choice has lost.

Elections this year in Colorado and elsewhere show the urgent need for voting rules that better protect majority rule when more than two people run. For Aspen to showcase its positive solution to the “spoiler” problem, voters must say no to Referendum 2B.

Rob Richie

FairVote, Taokma Park, Md.