Instant runoff voting campaign kicks off in St. Paul

By Curtis Gilbert
Published July 23rd 2009 in MPR News

St. Paul, Minn. — Supporters of instant runoff voting kicked off a campaign Wednesday night to institute the alternative balloting system in St. Paul.

City residents will vote this November on whether to use the instant runoff voting in future elections for mayor and city council.

Council member Melvin Carter said he supports the system because it allows voters to specify a second- and third-choice candidate, in case their first-choice candidate loses.

"We have a chance to eliminate some of those wasted votes and that decision that so many people have to make when they go to the polls and say, 'Do I want to cast a vote for that person I really, really, really believe in, or do I want to take the pragmatic route?'" Carter said.

Voters have already approved instant runoff voting in Minneapolis, and it will be used for city elections there this fall.

A group that unsuccessfully challenged Minneapolis in court over the system says it's not planning to launch a political campaign against instant runoff voting in St. Paul.

IRV Soars in Twin Cities, FairVote Corrects the Pundits on Meaning of Election Night '09
Election Day '09 was a roller-coaster for election reformers.  Instant runoff voting had a great night in Minnesota, where St. Paul voters chose to implement IRV for its city elections, and Minneapolis voters used IRV for the first time—with local media touting it as a big success. As the Star-Tribune noted in endorsing IRV for St. Paul, Tuesday’s elections give the Twin Cities a chance to show the whole state of Minnesota the benefits of adopting IRV. There were disappointments in Lowell and Pierce County too, but high-profile multi-candidate races in New Jersey and New York keep policymakers focused on ways to reform elections;  the Baltimore Sun and Miami Herald were among many newspapers publishing commentary from FairVote board member and former presidential candidate John Anderson on how IRV can mitigate the problems of plurality elections.

And as pundits try to make hay out of the national implications of Tuesday’s gubernatorial elections, Rob Richie in the Huffington Post concludes that the gubernatorial elections have little bearing on federal elections.