Green Party Favors Democracy, Not Vote Fraud
|January 14, 2003||Posted by Staff under The Progress Report|
Green Party Favors Democracy, Not Vote Fraud
Greens Urge Election Reform — Democrat and Republican Parties Fail to Respond
Here is a recent report from the Green Party of Delaware (US).
Independent, Libertarian, Natural Law parties join Greens in calling for Instant Runoff Voting in Delaware
In response to the 2002 elections which saw a pivotal 3-way race for the office of Attorney General, the Green Party of Delaware has initiated discussion with Delaware’s ballot qualified parties to establish Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). While all other parties support an IRV initiative, the Democratic and Republican parties ignored the Greens’ invitation to open a dialogue on IRV election reform.
“The need for IRV in Delaware is very clear”, said Vivian Houghton, 2002 Green Party candidate for Attorney General. “The failure of the Democratic and Republican parties to respond is a symptom of their bankruptcy with Delaware’s voters and rigor mortis approach to a changing political scene. IRV is a win-win measure for all parties and a needed reform to improve democracy in our state,” said Houghton.
The 2002 Attorney General’s race produced a dubious winner where Jane Brady did not receive a majority of the votes cast (48%). IRV ensures that a winning candidate receives an absolute majority of votes rather than a simple plurality. IRV accomplishes this without the high cost and delay associated with two-round runoff elections, by allowing voters to rank their candidates in order of preference on Election Day. If no one candidate receives a majority of votes for a particular office, IRV kicks in, to elect a majority winner.
“The Green Party initiated IRV in Delaware for many good reasons,” said Karen Lienau, the state Green Party’s Chairperson. “Besides insisting that a winner receive a majority of votes to hold office, a basic tenet of democracy, IRV allows for a better choice and wider voter participation, accommodates multiple candidates in single seat races, and assures that a spoiler-effect does not result in undemocratic outcomes.” Ms. Lienau continued, “IRV allows all voters to vote for their favorite candidate without fear of helping elect their least favorite candidate.”
“The 2002 Attorney General’s race saw over 50,000 more voters involved in the elections than in the 1998 elections. I think much of this increase can be attributed to our in-the street style campaign that energized and reengaged many disaffected voters,” said Bob Bohm, Houghton’s campaign manager. “And, frankly, her campaign was more than the margin of difference between who won and who lost. As the Green Party fields more Delaware candidates in the future, the Democratic and Republican parties would be smart to get behind IRV legislation.”
IRV allows voters to rank candidates according to their first choice, second choice, third choice, and so on. If a candidate does not receive a clear majority of votes on the first count, then the candidate who receives the fewest first place ballots is eliminated. All ballots are then retabulated, with each ballot counting as one vote for each voter’s favorite candidate who is still in contention. Voters who chose the eliminated candidate have their second choice vote count for candidates still in contention. The process continues until a candidate receives a majority of votes.
IRV is currently in use in San Francisco. In Vermont, over 50 towns and the State Labor Council AFL-CIO voted to support IRV for statewide elections. Senator John McCain endorsed Alaska’s IRV ballot measure.
In summary, IRV:
- Ensures majority rule
- Saves money compared to costly two-round runoff elections (which often have low voter turnout)
- Increases voter turnout by giving voters more choices
- Promotes positive, issue-based campaigns because candidates will seek 2nd and 3rd choice votes
- Creates a clearer mandate for a winning candidate9s agenda, giving better direction for policy-making
- Solves the problem of groupings of voters splitting their votes among similar candidates
- Minimizes ‘wasted’ votes, votes that don’t help elect a winner. To the fullest extent possible, a vote contributes to electing a candidate a voter likes the most
For more information:
John Anderson Says “Our two-party system has reached a dead-end”
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