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New York Times

"The Way We Vote"
Letter to the Editor
By Rob Richie
April 2, 2003

Janet Malcolm's attack on third-party candidacies (letter, March 26) is based on the fact that George W. Bush was elected even though a majority of voters in Florida and the country voted for either Al Gore or Ralph Nader. She should attack our antiquated plurality voting system rather than third-party candidates who seek to bring diverse viewpoints into elections.

Most countries choose presidents in runoff elections, which ensure that the popular will is respected. They also ensure that voters are not punished for exploring options other than the major candidates, who, in their efforts to capture at least half the votes, too often avoid the most pressing issues.

Better still is Australia's instant runoff voting, which accomplishes the goals of runoffs but in a single election.

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