Instant-runoff voting a good idea

By Judy Cox
Published July 21st 2006 in Contra Costa Times
Oakland has a low turnout for local elections: Only 44 percent of
registered voters actually voting in the June election, with only 23
percent choosing our new mayor, which is not the mandate any
new-elected official would like.

The Oakland City Council is right now considering instant runoff
voting as a reform to our election process. Instant runoff voting is
a great system which would allow the city to eliminate separate
runoff elections and move local elections to be combined with the
fall general election, when many more people come out to vote.

On average, almost 60 percent more people vote in the fall than the
spring. From communities of people of color, it's often more close to
100 percent more turning out in the fall. We need more of our
citizens to choose our leaders. Our council should be urged to put
instant runoff voting on the ballot -- we need to get more of our
citizens involved.

Judy Cox

Editor's note: The council decided this week to let the electorate
decide on Nov. 7 on the issue of instant runoff voting.