[Election-Methods] Fwd: FYI - FairVote MN Responds to Lawsuit Against IRV

Kathy Dopp kathy.dopp at gmail.com
Sat Dec 22 21:12:04 PST 2007

What do you think of this lawsuit?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Raging Grannie (Wanda B) <wsb70 at comcast.net>
Date: Dec 22, 2007 8:19 PM
Subject: FYI - FairVote MN Responds to Lawsuit Against IRV

go to <http://fairvotemn.org>FairVoteMN.org if you have trouble viewing
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For immediate release

Contact: Kelly O’Brien,
<mailto:kellyobrien at visi.com>kellyobrien at visi.com, 612-227-9102
Jeanne Massey,
<mailto:jeanne.massey at fairvotemn.org>jeanne.massey at fairvotemn.org, 763-807-2550
FairVote Minnesota Responds to Lawsuit Against Instant Runoff Voting

Minneapolis, MN (December 20, 2007)—FairVote Minnesota, a nonprofit,
nonpartisan organization leading the effort to institute instant runoff
voting in Minnesota, is issuing a response to news of a lawsuit brought
against the City of Minneapolis and various elected officials by an Eden
Prairie-based organization that is opposed to the pending use of instant
runoff voting (a.k.a. single transferable vote or ranked choice voting) in
the City of Minneapolis.

The lawsuit alleges that instant runoff voting (IRV) is unconstitutional
and violates the principle of “one person, one vote.† Additionally, the
plaintiffs contend that voters won’t understand how to vote using instant
runoff voting.

FairVote Minnesota presents the following facts as guidance in the
discussion of this lawsuit.

1. IRV has been upheld on the principle of "one person, one vote" in legal
challenges following its adoption in Cambridge, Mass. (Moore v. Election
Commissioners of Cambridge (1941) and in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Stephenson v.
Ann Arbor Board of Canvassers (1975).


2. No legal challenges are threatening instant runoff voting anywhere it's
in use—San Francisco, Calif.; Cambridge, Mass.; Burlington, Vermont; Takoma
Park, Maryland and Cary and Hendersonville, North Carolina.

3. Election exit polls in cities using IRV all show voters in overwhelming
numbers not only understand IRV, but prefer it to the old way of voting.
The share of voters indicating they understood IRV well or very well the
first time using IRV: San Francisco – 87%, Burlington – 89%; Takoma Park –
88%; 8%; Cary – 95%; Hendersonville – 86%.

4. As discussed in an opinion piece in the September 30, 2007 Star Tribune
by attorney and professor David Schultz, the 1915 legal case cited in the
lawsuit, Brown v. Smallwood, was not about instant runoff voting. It was
about a voting method that effectively gave Duluth citizens two votes in
some situations, a clear violation of both the Minnesota and United States
constitutions. The concern of that decision was based on what the courts
now call the "one person, one vote" standard. IRV does not violate this
standard because it does not give anyone two votes. It simply allows voters
to rank their preferred candidates.

5. Schultz further explained that since 1915 American democracy has
matured. The political process now seeks to provide more choices for voters
than it once did, as evidenced by numerous ballot access court decisions
that have made it possible for third party candidates such as Jesse Ventura
to run for office. The courts, mindful of voters’ demands for more
options when voting, have properly responded to the demand of citizens in
interpreting election laws to empower and not limit options on election day.

6. The lawsuit’s plaintiffs advocate to keep low-turnout municipal
primaries and to make them partisan to ensure all parties are represented
on the ballot. However, IRV shares the goal of ensuring choice on the
ballot. In fact, it makes sure that all candidates appear on the general
election ballot, regardless of party. With IRV, no candidate can be
eliminated in a low-turnout election whose chances might be different in a
general election.

The following are suggested sources for further information on instant
runoff voting.

Prof. David Schultz, Hamline University. 651-523-2858
Rob Richie, executive director, FairVote (national). 301-270-4616
Tony Solgard, former president, FairVote Minnesota. 612-242-5642
Jeanne Massey, executive director, FairVote Minnesota. 612-850-6897
Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, chair of Minneapolis elections committee.
Steven Hill, director, Political Reform Program, New America Foundation.
415-810-2701, or office 415-665-5044
Municipal Voting System Reform: Overcoming the Legal Obstacles by Tony
Solgard and Paul Landskroener in Bench & Bar of Minnesota, October 2002:
www.fairvote.org (national)



Let Star Tribune and Pioneer Press readers know that Instant Runoff Voting
is constitutional and why you support it!

Send letters to Star Tribune:

By e-mail:<opinion at startribune.htm> opinion at startribune.com
By mail: Editorial Department, Star Tribune, 425 Portland Ave.,
Minneapolis, MN 55488
By fax: 612-673-4359

<http://www.startribune.com/politics/state/12665581.html>Rochelle Olson:
Instant runoff voting has its first hurdle - a lawsuit
<http://www.startribune.com/local/12659276.html>Steve Karnowski: Lawsuit
challenges Minneapolis instant runoff voting system

Send letters to Pioneer Press:

By e-mail: <letters at pioneerpress.htm>letters at pioneerpress.com
By mail: Pioneer Press, 345 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55101
By fax: (651) 228-5564.

Karnowski: Lawsuit challenges Minneapolis instant runoff voting system



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<http://fairvotemn.org>FairVote Minnesota
PO Box 19440
Minneapolis, MN 55419-0440
<info at FairVoteMN.htm>info at FairVoteMN.org
(763) 807-2550


Kathy Dopp

The material expressed herein is the informed  product of the author
Kathy Dopp's fact-finding and investigative efforts. Dopp is a
Mathematician, Expert in election audit mathematics and procedures; in
exit poll discrepancy analysis; and can be reached at

P.O. Box 680192
Park City, UT 84068
phone 435-658-4657


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