Sunday, February 05, 2006


If the House Republicans had elected their leadership the way the country runs its elections, Rep. Blunt would be majority leader. In fact, however, the GOP used a system somewhat similar to what has been proposed by backers of instant run-off voting. Although not accomplished in one ballot - as in the case of IRV - when the House GOP was unable to decide by majority vote, they dropped the two bottom choices and took another count. It was on this second vote that Rep. Boehner was chosen. Here's how it looked in the first round:

Blunt: 110 votes
Boehner: 79 votes
Shadegg: 40 votes
Ryun: 2 votes

Now according the election law just about everywhere in the U.S. save godless, gay San Francisco and the House GOP caucus, Rep Blunt won the election based on the sacred first-past-the-post principle. But the GOP wanted something more than just a first round winner and so eliminated Shadegg and Ryun and counted again. Second time out:

Boehner: 122
Blunt: 109

In other words, the Republicans were smart for a change. Meanwhile in San Francisco a report by Fair Vote California finds that instant runoff voting (or "ranked choice voting" in San Francisco terminology) increased voter participation in the decisive round of last November's citywide election for assessor-recorder by an estimated 2.7 times. Moreover, six out of 25 neighborhoods in the city had triple the turnout they would have likely had with a traditional runoff; these neighborhoods represent the poorest and most racially diverse in the city, showing how IRV truly is a voting rights issue as well as a good government reform.

Says Fair Vote, nearly every single federal primary runoff has had lower turnout than the first round over the past dozen year, with an average decrease of more than 35%.

No comments:

Post a Comment