Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-03-02

Californians to Decide on Instant Runoff Voting

In March, San Francisco will decide whether to use instant runoff voting to elect city officers in the upcoming November 2002 elections. This is the first major test of the instant runoff voting system in the country. Faced with costs of up to $2 million per election cycle for traditional runoff voting, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 10 to 1 to put the issue of instant runoff voting to a referendum. Instant runoff voting would replace traditional runoff elections that are costly, for both candidates and taxpayers, and that require voters to head to the polls twice, causing a massive decline in voter turnout. For example, in the December 2000 runoff election in San Francisco, only 15 percent of voters exercised their right.

In instant runoff voting, voters rank candidates in order of preference, thereby selecting a first choice, second choice, and third choice candidate, or more. The candidate garnering the least amount of votes is discarded. If your first choice were the discarded candidate, then your vote would be attributed to your second choice candidate and all of the votes would be recounted. This process would continue until one clear winner could be identified, ensuring majority rule. According to Rob Richie, Executive Director of the Center for Voting and Democracy, instant runoff voting not only save money but would also help open up the political system to third parties. Under this system, says Richie, one would never feel as though s/he were “wasting one’s vote” as in plurality voting, where winner takes all even if a majority of the people voted against the winning candidate. “Plurality voting not only jeopardizes majority rule, but it typically suppresses non-major party candidacies, who enrich democracy by bolstering voter participation, and invigorating the campaign dialogue,” said Richie.

Across the nation, citizens are just beginning to take notice of instant runoff voting, a system created by an American in 1870 and used in national elections in Australia and Ireland. The League of Women Voters in Vermont is leading a push for all Vermont towns to include a non-binding referendum on instant runoff voting on their March 2002 ballots, and Alaskans will vote on the issue in November 2002.

Media Resources: Center for Voting and Democracy, TomPaine.com, 12/19/01; Rutland Herald, 12/27/01


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

12/19/2014 Woman on Life Support Revives Ireland Abortion Debate - Debate surrounding Ireland's ban on abortion has come up again following a current case involving a woman who is being kept on life support because she is pregnant. The woman's family wants her to be taken off life support, but doctors refuse because Irish law says they must do what they can to protect the 16-week-old fetus. . . .
 
12/19/2014 DC City Council Unanimously Approves Reproductive Health Anti Discrimination Bill - Wednesday, the Washington, DC City Council unanimously passed a bill that will prohibit employer interference in the reproductive health decisions of their employees. The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 was first introduced by DC Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), just ahead of the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of for-profit retail chain Hobby Lobby this summer. . . .
 
12/19/2014 Incremental Gains for Women in Congress - When the 114th Congress is sworn into office on January 3rd, 2015, there will be exactly the same number of women in Senate as the year before, 20, and a record-high number of women in the US House, 84. . . .