David Cobb Calls for IRV

June 16th, 2005

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.

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 impact."

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 democracy."

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."