Minnesota and IRO

Ken & Karla kbearman at isd.net
Thu Nov 5 22:40:30 PST 1998

DEMOREP1 at aol.com wrote: 
> To: election-methods-list at eskimo.com
> Subject: RE: 1st Choice Criterion, part 2
> Date: Thursday, November 05, 1998 7:01 PM
> The reason to condemn Plurality is that a plurality is many times a
> I note that Mr. Ventura was elected to be governor of the State of
> in the U.S. by around 37 percent of the voters.
   Hello from Minnesota.  Jesse Ventura did, indeed win with 37% as the
Reform Party-endorsed candidate for Governor of our state.  What may be
more interesting to these lists is that Alan Shilepsky ran as the Reform
Party-endorsed candidate for Secretary of State -- responsible for
elections and all attendant issues -- advocating Instant Runoff voting
(and less visibly, PR).  When Alan campaigned around the state, he
received a favorable response from people with whom he spoke about IRO.

Unfortunately, because in the U.S. change is only a 6-letter word and
The Way We Do It is always right [because everything we do is what
everyone in the world should do ;-) ], the media that didn't ignore him
didn't get it.  In fact, one of the 2 big Twin Cities daily papers, in
endorsing another candidate, described Alan's new method as "abstruse"
... "a rather abstruse word to use" in a daily paper, as he commented. 
Needless to say, he finished 3d of four candidates.

The irony, of course, is that Alan's advocacy of IRO came in a campaign
where his co-party candidate became a plurality 'winner'.

I know from tracking the EM discussion that some of you strongly dislike
Instant Runoff.  It may be theoretically inferior to other methods; I'm
not convinced, but I haven't been reading and studying EM closely.  But
I have to say that right now there's no way in the world to actually
'sell' any of the other methods that are being discussed and compared. 
Practically speaking, if it takes more than a minute to break through to
the potential voter, there's no way to grab their attention to explain
Condorcet Winners or anything else.  Instant Runoff is what we have to
use in the real world to introduce a change from plurality single winner
elections.  There has to be a bridge to a more perfect system.

We in Minnesota who are trying to raise consciousness about PR and other
electoral reforms hope that Jesse Ventura's 3d-party win coming right
before our "Empower the Voter" conference on 13-15 November will
jump-start the discussion.  We think IRO applied to his 37% plurality
'win' gives us an accessible way to demonstrate some failings of our
current system.

   --Ken Bearman, kbearman at isd.net
     Minneapolis MN  USA
     Bd. member, FairVote Minnesota

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