Go for instant runoff

By Hannah Garden-Monheit
Published July 2nd 2005 in Aspen Times

Dear Editor:

The dismal turnout in the June 7 runoff election emphasized the need to re-evaluate Aspen's use of a two-round election. In addition to low turnout, runoff elections are costing the city valuable tax dollars - the last runoff produced a whopping bill of $6,000. However, scrapping the runoff altogether is not the best option.

The city should consider instant runoff voting as the solution to Aspen's electoral troubles. With IRV, voters rank the candidates they support on a single ballot. The system guarantees majority support for a candidate on one simple ballot. There is no need for a costly, low-turnout second election. IRV has the added benefit of discouraging negative campaigning, since candidates will want to earn the second-choice votes of their opponents' supporters.

Aspen should look into using IRV, rather than regressing to a system that does not produce majority winners.

Hannah Garden-Monheit
Washington, D.C.