Cobb Calls for IRV
June 16, 2004
David Cobb was nominated for president by the Green Party on
June 26, 2004. Before the Green convention, Cobb released the following
statement about the value of replacing winner-take-all elections. For more
information, see http://www.votecobb.org
David Cobb, the leading candidate for the Green Party nomination,
called today for Democrats, independents and others concerned about the possible
"spoiler" effect of his and other "third party" campaigns to
publicly and actively support Instant Runoff Voting. "There is a solution
to what some call the 'spoiler' problem but which is really a much deeper
problem of widespread voter anger at and alienation from our electoral system.
That solution is called Instant Runoff Voting.
"Under Instant Runoff Voting, or IRV," Cobb explained, "voters
can rank their choices, 1, 2, 3, etc. and make their vote really count. If no
candidate gets a majority of the #1 votes, the second place and possibly
other choices are used to choose a winner. Under this system potential
voters are empowered and encouraged to come to the polls because there will be
more choices of candidates and the individual voter's ballot will have more
Cobb, a California resident, pointed to recent IRV victories in referendums in
San Francisco and Berkeley as evidence that voters can learn about IRV and come
to support it. "IRV is being used increasingly in elections around the
world, including for the mayor of London, England, the Australian House of
Representatives, the president of Ireland and the president of the American
Political Science Association. A form of IRV is also used by sports writers to
choose the top college football teams in the country. If sports writers and
athletes can figure it out, so can the U.S. electorate."
Cobb criticized the Democratic Party. "The Democrats are quick to attack
the Green Party, calling us 'spoilers,' but where they have had the chance to
implement IRV, they have not done so in any state or locality that they control.
Their behavior speaks volumes about the depth of their commitment to genuine
Cobb also supports Proportional Representation to choose county, state or
national legislatures. "The winner-take-all system is a 19th century
anachronism. When the Soviet Union broke up into a number of smaller
countries, not a single one chose winner-take-all as their voting system.
All use a form of proportional representation. Indeed, the United Nations
election administrator for Iraq has proposed the same thing for the projected
January, 2005 Iraq elections. It's long overdue that the United
States catches up with the rest of the world and enacts 21st century voting
systems like Instant Runoff Voting and Proportional Representation."