[EM] The question of Alaska approach

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Wed Mar 13 21:01:43 PST 2002

That's true: I prefer to offer a better reform instead of just
shooting down a nonreform. When I wrote my first letter to the
SF Chronicle, I ended it by saying that there's a genuine reform
that avoids all the problems that I named in the letter. I fear
that that letter didn't get printed because the editor may have
thought that I was just using the IRV issue to write about something
else, or maybe because he felt that my letter should have been
limited to one topic: Yes or No on prop A. Of course the existence
of much better voting systems is quite relevant to Yes/No on A, but
the editor might not have seen it that way.

In all my letters to Richie & others at CVD, and in all my
other letters & e-letters critical of IRV, I've always emphasized
better voting system proposals.

But I don't know if editors will print letters that talk of other
reforms, or if the mention of other reforms would be allowed in
the ballot pamphlet. Or if the Alaskan IRV opponents would want
to talk about other reforms in their anti-IRV arguments in the
pamphlet. Some IRV opponents of course oppose IRV because they
oppose reform, and have mistakenly been convinced that IRV is
a good enough reform to deserve their opposition.

(Does anyone know when the deadline is for the proponents &
opponents of state propositions to submit their arguments to the
ballot-pamphlet for the IRV initiative vote in Alaska?)

I believe what happened in Alaska was that a Libertarian spoiled
and caused the defeat of a Republican, causing the Democrat to win.
So the Republicans want reform, and the Democrats oppose the
inititiative. I suspect that the lesser-of-2-evils problem worked
well for the Democrats in that spoiler election, and so they don't
feel any strategic incentive to try to get rid of Plurality.

So yes, I prefer always emphasizing what's better, when writing
about what isn't significantly better. But I don't know if it
could get into the forums available for the campaign.

I'd rather talk about Approval or Condorcet without mentioning
IRV's problems than talk about IRV's problems without mentioning
Approval or Condorcet.

But I feel that when IRV is adopted, that's bad news for single-winner
reform, and that we should write what will be printed for
defeating IRV in Alaska. But if others will take part in opposing
IRV in Alasks (or anywhere else too), I'd be glad to agree to
not down IRV without offering Approval, unless the others agree that
the Approval material can't get printed or broadcast and that
it's desirable to send the anti-IRV material anyway.

Of course we can't completely avoid negative campaigning--IRV's
problems and lack of improvement have everything to do with why
people should refuse it and get something better.


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