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Roll Call

Instant Runoffs Gaining Support

Dan Johnson-Weinberger
May 31, 2001

I think the Libertarians' argument that they spoiled two Senate races for the Republicans is more valid than what you indicated in the May 28 edition of "Heard on the Hill." So long as states continue to use plurality elections where "winners" don't have to earn a majority of votes, this structural problem is not going away for the major parties, especially in close races where third party candidates consistently earn a few percentage points.

The ultimate answer to the problem of spoiled elections through split votes is emerging in more states every year: instant runoff voting. A dozen states introduced legislation to use instant runoff voting this year, more will surely come in 2002. Republicans have led the way in Alaska by putting it on the November 2002 ballot for federal races; the Democratic Speaker of the California state Assembly, Robert Hertzberg, is a supporter. Savvy political operatives should consider joining them and working to take out "spoiler" insurance in their home states by implementing instant runoff voting.

- Dan Johnson-Weinberger, National Field Director, Center for Voting and Democracy

 
 
 
 
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