October 22, 2010
Last year’s instant runoff election in Aspen was a vigorously contested one, with a wide array of choices. Voter turnout was higher than ever before. The candidates who spent the most money did not win. Instead, the instant runoff winners were the candidates who were ahead in the first count and who would have defeated every losing candidate if matched against them one-on-one.
Arguments against instant runoff voting just don’t stick. Voters didn’t have problems with the system – it is my understanding that not a single voter in the mayor’s race failed to indicate a clear first choice, and not a single backer of a defeated candidate made an error when indicating their choice between the two finalists. And if we don’t like electronic counting, we always could do it by hand, just as national IRV elections are done in Australia and Ireland.
It is important to realize that IRV has gained wide acceptance in democracies worldwide – and in U.S. cities like Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Memphis, Oakland and Telluride. In the United Kingdom, voters successfully made the case for a national referendum to go to IRV.
Instant runoff voting has a proven track record of success – while making elections more affordable. It is a democratic counterpoint to the influence of money, vitriol, and sometimes, the lack of attention to the real problems facing our town.
Vote “no” on 2b.
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