Saturday, April 26, 2003

USA Today Calls For Instant Runoff Voting!
There is a better way: instant runoffs. Instead of voting for just one candidate, voters rank their preferences for candidates from first to last. If no one receives a majority of first-choice votes, the last-place candidate is eliminated and the second choices from those ballots are added to the totals for the remaining candidates. The process continues until one candidate emerges with a majority. Ireland and Australia have used the system in national elections, and it has been adopted in parts of Great Britain.

Now, I realize that the USA Today isn't a paragon of political wisdom, but it is mainstream. So don't even start with the "pie-in-the-sky" arguments. IRV is a great system, less expensive, and supports third parties who are trying to serve the political market. Let's free the market of politics in this country, end the tired defense of the suffocating and dissatisfying two-party system, and try to make democracy more responsive to citizens who want a stake in governing.

We routinely have the lowest voter turnout for elections among modernized democratic nations. We should work to change this, and quit denying that our restrictive two-party system is a factor in explaining this embarassing reality. Americans care...give them real choices.