[EM] NYT/Richie voting reform "debate" next Sunday; write in.

Jameson Quinn jameson.quinn at gmail.com
Wed Feb 8 18:18:52 PST 2012

 Invitation to a Dialogue: A Better Way to Elect? Published: February 7,

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*To the Editor:*
 Enlarge This Image

Every four years a handful of the same old states effectively pick party
nominees for president, voting earlier and earlier with campaign spending
mattering more and more.

The parties should winnow their field with what is known as the American
Plan <http://archive.fairvote.org/?page=965>, a nomination schedule that
rewards retail campaigning and gives late-entering candidates a better
chance. Ten biweekly rounds of voting would be held, starting in small
states. Delegates would beallocated
than by winner take all.

Up to three candidates for each party would earn a place in a national
primary, held in June in conjunction with Congressional primaries.

Ranked-choice voting — a proven system used in national elections in
Australia and mayoral elections in a dozen American cities, in which voters
rank candidates in order of preference — would ensure that winners earn
majority support in an “instant runoff<http://www.instantrunoff.com/the-basics>

For general elections, the nominees of major parties should face more
competition from third-party and independent candidates by having fairer
ballot access, inclusive debates, ranked-choice voting and,
eventually, a national
popular vote <http://nationalpopularvote.com/> for president.

For Congressional elections, creating larger districts with several seats
and a proportional voting system to allow more voters to elect a preferred
candidate would better represent the left, the right and the center.

With these changes, all Americans could be engaged in our presidential
elections, not just the favored few of Iowa, New Hampshire and the other
early primary and caucus states. And we just might regularly end up with
better presidents and members of Congress.

Takoma Park, Md., Feb. 6, 2012

*The writer is executive director of FairVote, which promotes election

*Editors’ Note: **We invite readers to respond to this letter for our
Sunday Dialogue. We plan to publish responses and Mr. Richie’s rejoinder in
the Sunday Review. E-mail:letters at nytimes.com*


Jameson here... I think we should definitely take this opportunity to
promote reform in general. I'd advise a "yes, and" approach to Richie. As I
see it, it is definitely not worth trying to talk about the flaws in IRV.
Richie will get his rejoinder; it's impossible to pre-rebut all of the
various half-truths or worse that he could come up with, so it's better not
to try. Also, remember, we want the average reader to go away thinking that
all the experts agree that election reform is a great idea, not feeling
that it's a minefield of debate. So say your piece, but be nice to Richie,
no matter what you think he deserves.

Personally, I'd love it if the Center for Election Science could have an
official response. Similarly for all the people with credentials -
votefair, etc.

A similar idea: statement signers, do you think we could agree on a
response in time to get published on Sunday?

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