More Choice in Elections

By John Anderson
Published December 9th 2005 in The New York Times
To the Editor:

Re "It Takes a Statehouse Scandal" (editorial, Dec. 2):

As a longtime advocate of public financing of elections, I agree that Connecticut has taken a giant step forward on campaign financing for state elections.

But lawmakers should be ashamed of the prospective law's appalling and likely unconstitutional provisions to prevent independent candidates from securing public financing. You say that "the new rules will in fact create more competition," but legislators seem too fearful of independents and third parties to provide them with an equal opportunity to secure financing.

A strong two-party system cannot rest upon denying the ability of independents to hold the major parties accountable.

It would be far more democratic for lawmakers to change their election laws to accommodate voter choice: for instance, to allow instant runoff voting for executives and proportional voting for legislators. These systems treat voters equally and protect majority rule, two basic conditions of a fair democracy.

John B. Anderson
Takoma Park, Md., Dec. 2, 2005

The writer, the independent candidate for president in 1980, is chairman of the Center for Voting and Democracy.