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Daily Hampshire Gazette

Election reform critical to democracy
Michael Aleo
June 2002

To the editor:

In Massachusetts, the Democratic Party is the status quo. It benefits from the fact that, in terms of dollars spent, Massachusetts is one of the most lobbied states in the entire country. Consequently, politics in this state is dominated by special interests - particularly, corporate interests.

Voters are tired of politics as usual in Massachusetts. The time has come for voters to send a message to the Democratic Party: We believe in democracy, and we will fight for it.

Clean Elections and Instant Runoff Voting are central to creating a genuine democracy.

It is abundantly clear that as a party, Democrats do not support Clean Elections. This poses a serious obstacle for democratic reform in Massachusetts.

Recently, Phil Johnston (chairman of the Mass. Democratic Party) attacked Jill Stein's bid for governor. Accusations of Jill Stein being a spoiler in the upcoming gubernatorial election are shallow. Electoral reform could easily allow voters to cast votes in a manner that does not allow for the 'spoiler effect' we saw in the presidential elections of 2000.

Instant Runoff Voting would allow voters to prioritize candidates so that they may vote for Jill as their first choice, with a Democrat as their second. If Jill was not one of the top two vote getters, the Democrat would become the voters' first choice - thus, no 'throw away' votes. This would mean that a vote for Jill would not be a vote for Romney. Oddly, in Massachusetts it is the Democratic Party that would benefit most from Instant Runoff Voting - yet it is the Green Party that leads the IRV campaign.

If the Democratic Party wants to hold onto its ever-shrinking base of progressive support, it must reform. In the meantime, the Green Party must push for an alternative - for true democracy.

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