Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Time for IRV

So Democrats take the Minnesota House and sweep all statewide offices.... except for governor. Why?

Because a strong independent candidate siphoned off DFL-leaning voters, costing Mike Hatch a victory.


I was actually hoping for Hatch to win in a squeaker, because having a DFL governor would have made things easier. But maybe his loss will drive the point home more strongly.

And that point is that the DFL-controlled legislature needs to have instant-runoff voting in place by the 2008 elections.

Why? Well, first off, it's simply the right thing to do. It lets people vote for the candidate they really like without having to worry that doing so will cause their least-favorite candidate to get elected.

But that hasn't persuaded either major party in the past. Fine principles usually come in second to practical politics.

So now's the time to make the case on political grounds.

In Minnesota, serious independent candidates tend to dilute DFL voting strength more than Republican voting strength. That simple fact is proved by the last two elections, in which both Tim Penny and Peter Hutchinson weakened the DFL candidate enough for Pawlenty to win both times with a plurality rather than a majority.

Had IRV been in place, Pawlenty would have lost both times. Simple as that. Had IRV been in place this year, Hatch would have won.

I plan to write the DFL leadership, as well as my own representatives, and make that case. As long as legislative leaders resist IRV, they will continue to see their gubernatorial candidates lose. I will appeal to them to adopt IRV both because it is the right thing to do, and because it provides a tactical advantage to Democrats.

If enough people do that, in 2008 we could have election results that truly reflect the will of the people.

Write your state representative today.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, it looks like Hutchinson took votes equally between the parties. Listening to voters (at least in my district) I suspect Hutchinson would have won with IRV. That too is an argument for it because many of the votes for both major parties appear to have been defensive votes - not the best way to run a democracy...

11/10/2006 6:57 AM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

I've heard that before -- it's a staple of independent candidates, who don't want to be perceived as "hurting" one of the major candidates. But given Hutchinson's positions, I just don't believe that.

When a serious third-party candidate is in the race, I think pollsters should ask a two-part question: First, who is your favorite candidate? Second, who will you vote for? That would be a way to truly measure support for the independent.

11/10/2006 10:43 AM  

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