Shouldn't Talk To Santa Clara?

David Marsay djmarsay at
Thu Oct 22 02:18:48 PDT 1998

In response to:

> From:          Bart Ingles <bartman at>
> Subject:       Re: Shouldn't Talk To Santa Clara?

> The few Santa Clara County seats that would be affected by this measure
> are all non-partisan, at least in theory (no political affiliation is
> listed on the ballot).  These are basically local races, with most
> candidates unknown to most voters.  Name recognition and endorsement by
> better-known officials are probably the largest factor in a successful
> campaign.

Santa Clara is not like the UK!

My impressions: If people just vote for those they know but do not 
dislike, then Approval would seem to be fine and indeed better than 
any published ranking method. Of ranking methods, AV/IRO and Runoff 
are clearly going to be better than FPP. I'm not sure I would want to 
choose between them. I suspect that an astute politician could do 
better under Runoff, but maybe that's what Santa Clara folk want.

> In practice, there are frequently two prominent candidates receiving
> endorsements from other elected officials who happen to be aligned with
> the two major parties.  In that sense, centrist candidates without
> major-party backing would be eliminated immediately under Runoff.

So AV/IRO is different here, as it would give centrist candidates a 
chance. But is this necessarily 'better'?

>There is some
> concern that Perot's candidacy may have altered the outcome in the last
> two elections (some say intentionally). 

AV/IRO would seem to give the 'right' result, whereas Runoff does 
not. This is like UK elections
>This raises a concern of mine: that a minor candidate
> (particularly one posing as a centrist) can not only
>alter the outcome of a race, 
>but reduce any incentive for the major parties to compete for the
>middle-ground.  I am as concerned about this as I am about
> overcoming the two-party duopoly.

> Runoff would address this last concern of mine, but would require
> partisan primary elections to remain in place. 

AV/IRO addresses it too, without such a great need for primaries.

Sorry, but apparently I have to do this. :-(
The views expressed above are entirely those of the writer
and do not represent the views, policy or understanding of
any other person or official body.

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