[EM] To Marquette, to Marquette ...

Alex Small asmall at physics.ucsb.edu
Wed Jan 29 10:18:21 PST 2003

Steve Barney said:
> BTW, one reason given in a news article for dropping Nanson's Method and
>  reverting back to the plurality with a runoff was that they preferred
> voting  twice, and felt that they could be more informed voters the
> second time  around. What to do about that?

It's tempting to use the example of the 2002 French Presidential election,
but the reality is that dangerous ideologues aren't running for mayor in
many small towns.  Maybe some extremists get their starts in local
politics, but it's harder to conjure up the nightmare scenarios.  An
overhaul of zoning regulations just doesn't carry the same emotional
impact as immigration and foreign policy.

The cost of a second round is a possible issue, but if the first round is
held on the same day as partisan primaries and the second on the day of
the general election then cost isn't a factor.  Besides, there's always
the argument that a good democracy is worth a little extra money.  Since
that argument is true as far as it goes, we have to argue that there are
better forms of democracy than 2-step runoff, and we're back at square 1
with the cost issue moot.

I think 2-step runoff may have a lot of inertia in local races, and may
not be worth arguing against for now.  The new Approval Voting
organization is looking at primary elections, which often have 3 or more
contenders.  Since some states gives parties considerable latitude in the
conduct of primary elections, the hope is that 3rd parties, having a
vested interest in promoting election reform, will adopt Approval Voting
to give the public an example of Approval in action.  Proponents of other
alternative single-winner methods could try similar tactics.  In any case,
third-party primaries may be the best place to advocate alternative
single-winner methods.


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