[EM] IRV update and approval vs. range

Douglas Greene douggreene at earthlink.net
Wed Feb 19 16:00:39 PST 2003

The following is an update from the CVD.  As we start to evolve into an action group (for those who want to join me in that route), we need to get more organized around their efforts.  I'm actively monitoring NY, but I can't cover the whole country.  MN, VT and FL are top states to keep an eye on.

It's become increasing clear that the complexities of Condorcet (completion methods, wv v. margins) make it somewhat untenable as a public proposal.

I'm all for approval.  But, we do have to concede that people like the expressivity of rank ordering (even if, as in IRV, it has negative consequences).

So . . why do we think approval is superior to range (aka cardinal rankings) as a public proposal?



There's been a great new run of legislation in Congress and
states-- see http://www.fairvote.org/action/index.htm. Congress
2006 Commission Act (HR 415), sponsored by Florida
Congressman Alcee Hastings, would create a commission to
study the size of the U.S. House of Representatives and the
potential use of full representation voting methods. The bill's
2001 version picked up the support of Martin Frost, one of the
frontrunners last year to be the Democratic leader in the House.

More and more states are looking to instant runoff voting
(IRV), the ranked-choice voting method that ensures a majority
winner in one election no matter how many candidates
participate. Spurred by third party threats to major party
incumbents and by cash-hungry governments wanting to
replace expensive runoff contests, IRV has moved to the top of
major parties' reform agenda in states such as:

      * Vermont -- see http://fairvote.org/irv/vt2003/ -- where 
IRV has benefitted from the support of ex-governor Howard 
Dean, endorsements from civic groups like the League of 
Women Voters, Grange, Common Cause, PIRG and AFL-CIO 
and a grassroots surge that last year swept more than 50 
town meeting votes.

      * Utah, where the Republican Party's use of IRV to
nominate Members of Congress at its 2002 convention has
sparked interest in expanding its use, as evidenced by a strong
letter of support for IRV from the Utah attorney general
http://fairvote.org/irv/utahag.htm ;

      *  Florida, where senior lawmakers are looking to IRV
as an alternative to traditional "delayed" runoffs following 
editorial endorsements  http://fairvote.org/irv/commentaries.htm
from influential Florida papers like the Fort Lauderdale Sun S
Sentinel, Palm Beach Post and St. Petersburg Times;

      *  Minnesota, where the growth of former governor
Jesse Ventura's Independence Party and the Greens have
contributed to endorsements for IRV from the state's governor
and the largest newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune

      * Maine, where a leading lawmaker publicly announced
a goal of implementing IRV for state elections by 2004;
Other states that have or will soon have IRV legislation include:
California, where the November 2003 mayoral elections with
IRV should dramatically increase potential use elsewhere -- for
more on San Francisco, see www.fairvote.org/sf/; Hawaii, which 
held a hearing on an IRV bill on Feb. 10; New Mexico; New 
York; Virginia; and Washington.

Illinois has two intriguing bills developed by the Center's
general counsel Dan Johnson-Weinberger. HB 138, which
already has unanimously passed its initial committee vote,
would grant county boards the authority to adopt cumulative
voting in multi-member districts. A second bill, HB 395, would
require officials to provide primary election ballots that permit
instant runoff voting for absentee voters in the U.S. military or
outside of U.S. -- for more on this sensible practice adopted
already by Louisiana, see http://www.fairvote.org/irv/lairv.htm.
If you live in a state with primary or local runoffs, please urge 
your state legislators to initiate this legislation.

To keep updated on a full range of state legislation affecting
political parties, see the invaluable resource Ballot Access
News: $14 a year for 12 issues and on line at 

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