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Missoulian

Advocate drops drive for 'instant runoff' initiative
May 8, 2002

The sponsor of a proposed initiative to create "instant runoff" elections in Montana has withdrawn the measure, the secretary of state's office said Monday.

In a letter to Secretary of State Bob Brown, Matthew Singer of Billings said he wanted "to prevent ballot confusion resulting from an overabundance of ballot issues" for the 2002 election, a press release from Brown's office said.

Five measures have qualified for the 2002 ballot, and another eight are pending. One was rejected by the attorney general and three, including Singer's, have been withdrawn.

Singer's proposal would have asked voters to rank several choices when voting for state or federal offices with more than three candidates, rather than simply voting for one candidate.

If no candidate received more than 50 percent of the first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes would be dropped. Votes from voters who picked the dropped candidate as their first choice would then go to the voters' second-choice candidates, and the process would continue until one candidate had more than 50 percent support.

Similar proposals are being considered in other states.


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