Letter: Modernizing Elections

Published July 30th 2003 in New York Times
To the Editor:

Re "How to Vote? Let Us Count the Ways: Amid Election Review, a Search for a Fair System" (news article, July 27):

Our 18th-century winner-take-all system and its exclusive reliance on geographic representation were adequate when our nation was predominantly rural and had only 200,000 eligible voters, all of them propertied white men.

Today, the system increasingly seems horse and buggy.

It doesn't promote representation, political discourse and policy formation in an extremely mobile, Internet-connected, multipartisan, multiracial, multireligious, multitasking world.

More modern methods like instant runoff voting and proportional representation are better suited to large populations and the pluralistic society we have become.

We should think carefully about continuing to use 18th-century voting methods in the 21st century.

San Francisco
July 27, 2003