Let voters truly decide

By Jessica Falker
Published February 7th 2006 in Rutland Herald
Thank you to Peter Welch (D), David Zuckerman (P), and Mark Shepard (R) for participating in the recent forum in Rutland, hosted by Rutland Democracy for America. We are lucky that all three gentlemen have committed themselves to publicly serving the people of Vermont, and I hope they will return to the Rutland area again soon.

Because they are all good candidates, it is very hard to choose just one. Unfortunately, our current voting system forces citizens to vote for just one candidate, with no opportunity to rate our second and third choice.

There's a better way.

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) allows voters to rank the candidates at the voting booth. If your first choice does not have enough votes to win, your vote is credited to your second choice, and so on. It's a very simple way for voters to have more say in who is elected to represent them in our government.

As David Zuckerman said at the forum, this is not just a left-wing issue. When was the last time you saw a third party, 100 percent pro-life candidate run for statewide office? With IRV, people on both sides of the political spectrum, and everyone in between, will be able to rank the candidates of their choice instead of worrying that their vote will be wasted, or worse, that voting for their favorite candidate will actually help their least favorite candidate win.

IRV will be used in this March's Burlington mayoral election. Following that election, the state Legislature will review the results and decide if they will pass IRV as a statewide voting system. Naturally, people in power are reluctant to change the system that got them where they are. However, IRV is what will give the people of Vermont the opportunity they deserve, the opportunity to vote for the candidate(s) of their choice. Please encourage your representative and senators to pass IRV.