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St. Paul voters approve instant runoff voting

On Nov. 3rd, voters in St. Paul, MN followed in the footsteps of their Minneapolis neighbors by approving the use of instant runoff voting in municipal elections by a vote of roughly 52%-48%. The St. Paul Green Party supported the measure, which faced organized opposition from a group called the Minnesota Voter’s Alliance. St. Paul’s dominant Democratic-Farmer-Labor party was split on the issue. IRV opponents have pledged to challenge the result in court, as they did after voters approved it in Minneapolis. Minnesota, where Jesse Ventura of the Independence Party was elected governor in recent years, could become the first state to use instant runoff voting on a statewide level. See the Pioneer Press for the full story.

Dave Schwab

6 Comments

  1. Ah, the return of the IRV troll. Pretty smart to target Greens with your misinformation campaign. Someone must be really afraid of the spread of instant runoff voting to troll our every IRV post like this. Could it be… Democrats Against Democracy?

  2. IRV allows “gasp” the ability of other voices and choices.

    In Minneapolis, we just had our first IRV or more appropriately RCV vote.

    Now, the establishment parties have already figured out a way to try and subvert things. Inn Minneapolis, the incumbent Democrats simply did not debate any of the challengers.

    The media did not report on this election at all. So there was some of the lowest civic participation in decades. The Democratic party machine ensured that the low turn out favored them, since they have a machine. The establishment won, hands down.

    None the less, having IRV or RCV is a success.

    For those of us thinking beyond this election cycle. Like some of our friends and allies in the Green Party and us Open Progressives.

    Can you dig it?

  3. I tried to post a comment on that youtube video pointing out how bogus it is, but the video’s creator refused to post it. I guess it’s fitting that those who oppose voter choice would seek to control the debate by censoring opposing viewpoints.

  4. I’m not convinced that IRV is better for third parties, honestly. It seems like it just alleviates peoples’ fear of having a Nader-like candidate and makes it so someone like Nader won’t “spoil” elections, but supposedly it won’t really help in situations like the Vermont governor’s race last year, where there were three candidates that got over 20% of the vote.

  5. IRV isn’t perfect, but no voting system can be. It is categorically better than plurality. Voting experts tend to disagree about what system is best, but I’ve been following IRV stories for years, and I can’t remember any voting expert quoted as preferring plurality to IRV. Basically, what we have is considered the worst system going.

    The track record of IRV in places where it’s actually been used shows that it allows for more choices, and voters prefer it to plurality. Third parties are relatively strong in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Burlington. You can argue whether IRV leads to strong third parties, or third parties lead to IRV, but the two do seem to go together.

    “It seems like it just alleviates peoples’ fear of having a Nader-like candidate”

    When you consider that the “blame Nader” smear campaign was the worst thing to ever hit the US Green Party, that’s not a small change. Yes, part of IRV is about removing people’s fear of voting for the candidate they agree most with. The ‘spoiler effect’ is based on fear. That’s why we say ‘vote your hopes, not your fears’. In other countries, most people can vote their hopes a lot more often because they have proportional representation. IRV is also a step towards the single transferable vote method of PR, which would be a huge step forward for representative democracy in this country.

    It doesn’t make sense to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, when Arrow’s theorem tells us that no voting system can be perfect.

    That’s why I disagree with those who try to defeat IRV without proposing any alternative to the status quo. From what I’ve seen, they tend to be people who want to preserve the status quo, whether members of the political establishment or big money special interests who are used to always getting their way in elections.

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