Democracy for Alaska Citizens
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
More Democracy for Alaska
Statement of Support for Alaska Ballot Measure 1
Not only does the state of Alaska have a Citizen Dividend program, it is also considering this important pro-democracy reform. Every state in the USA will follow Alaska’s example if it wants a better, truer democracy. Here is a statement in support of the reform, released by the Center for Voting and Democracy.
Ballot Measure 1 gives voters more power and better choices, guarantees majority winners and can save hundreds of thousands of tax dollars.
Measure 1 addresses three problems with Alaska’s elections:
- Expensive delayed runoff elections are a headache for voters, candidates and administrators. Anchorage’s last runoff election had only a 7% voter turnout and cost approximately $100,000. This wastes taxpayers’ money.
- High offices have no majority (over 50%) requirement, making it possible for less popular candidates to win with a low percentage of votes.
- Some elected officials don’t reach out to a broad range of Alaskans. If a candidate doesn’t expect your vote to matter, that candidate will ignore you in campaigns and pay less attention to you once elected.
Measure 1 adopts instant runoff voting for most state elections and gives municipalities the option to use it. Instant runoff voting is used around the world and recommended in Robert’s Rules of Order. It’s like a regular runoff, but doesn’t require a second trip to the polls. You vote for your favorite candidate, just as you do now, but you gain the option to indicate your runoff choices by ranking candidates in order of preference – 1, 2, 3. This way, if no candidate is the first choice of at least 50% of the voters, a runoff count can be conducted without the need for a second election.
Benefits of Measure 1:
- It eliminates the problem of our current election system, where a candidate strongly opposed by the majority can win. It assures majority rule.
- It eliminates the need for a second runoff election, and saves taxpayers money.
- You can vote for candidates you truly prefer without “wasting” your vote or worrying about splitting the vote.
By being allowed to rank candidates, voters gain greater influence and the results more democratically reflect their choices.
Ballot Measure 1 has the support of a broad cross-section of Alaskans, and political parties from across the political spectrum. Courts have consistently upheld this reform because it complies with the “one person, one vote” principle.
Millions of voters have used instant runoff voting for decades. Utah Republicans use it to nominate congressional candidates. San Francisco voters just passed a ballot measure to elect city leaders with it. Louisiana uses it for military overseas ballots. The American Political Science Association uses it because it’s the fairest and simplest way to assure a majority winner in a single election. Every state League of Women Voters, from Washington to Vermont, that has thoroughly studied instant runoff voting has endorsed it.
Measure 1 is “good government” at its best. We will elect candidates who have the support of a majority and who are more likely to listen to all Alaskans. And we can save tax dollars.
This measure is supported by both the Alaska Libertarian Party and the Green Party of Alaska, as well as others.
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