Instant runoff voting

By Mary Lindsay
Published July 26th 2007 in Kansas City Star
In “Two-party system warps our democracy” (7/21, Opinion) Midwest Voices columnist Bob Keith Bonebrake bemoans our political system, in which many citizens vote for candidates they dislike the least because voting for candidates outside the Democratic or Republican parties seems equivalent to not voting at all.

There is an alternative system. Instant runoff voting lets people vote their consciences. Voters rank candidates in order of preference. If a candidate wins a majority of first-choice votes, he or she wins.

If no candidate receives a majority of first-place ballots, the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated, and the votes cast for that candidate are credited to the candidates according to those voters’ second choices.

Instant runoff voting frees minor-party candidates from a “spoiler” role, allows voters to express their honest preferences and ensures a majority winner. It offers a chance to break the stranglehold the two dominant parties have on our political process.

Mary Lindsay,
Kansas City area chapter
Kansas City