Friday, April 15, 2005


I happened to be thumbing through the February issue of the Libertarian Party News and came upon this letter in the Letters To The Editor section. The writer makes a somewhat compelling argument against libertarian and/ third party support for Instant Runoff Voting. In short, he suggests that IRV will make third parties even less relevant since they aren't likely to win, anyway, and their votes just end up going to Republicans and Democrats in the end. We won't have the pleasure of playing the role of Spoiler.

I've always hated it when some libertarians gloat about throwing a race because we took enough votes from a candidate to make the difference in a race. But that assumes we can say for sure where the libertarian votes would have gone had there not been an LPer in the race. Some Libs might not vote at all, myself included. For instance, I didn't vote in the last congressional race. No LP candidate. Not all that fond of Mike Thompson and definitely didn't like the Republican, Lawrence Weisner. I was about tempted to vote for perpetual Lefty candidate, Pam Elizondo(sic?), now of the Green Party if for no other reason than anyone who shows up at a candidate forum wearing a t- shirt deserves some support (I hate those suits and ties). But I chose not to vote at all in that one.

Some Libs lean toward the Left, some toward the Right. I'll admit many might well be tempted to vote Republican but I would think that would depend on the area of the country one is in. Seems to me the only way to find out for sure, is with IRV. As far as third parties being made less relevant with IRV, we're already irrelevant and there is the school of thought that third parties would be made more relevant by using IRV. Who knows?


At 11:18 PM, Blogger Dave Berman said...

Maybe more important to consider than whether the party is more or less relevant is whether the voter is getting any or more of a say. Many election problems will remain untouched by the introduction of RCV so it is not reasonable to consider its impact in a vacuum. However, coupled with public campaign financing (essentially the elimination of the equation money=speech) we can begin to evaluate campaigns more as if they are about the competition of ideas. In this regard, RCV is a great enhancement to the execution of democracy.

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Voters getting any or more of a say? True, but it would be hard to quantify that. Too bad they couldn't run the two elections side by side: one using the current method, one using RCV. Then you could see how different the results would be. I suspect the end results wouldn't differ much up here, though, at least in statewide races.

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Dave Berman said...

I wish we could see that comparison too. Before we could evaluate the side by side results I expect we would see a difference in who would run, and how they run. These are components of the election process ignored by the higher profile issues such as voting machines and disenfranchisement. Both areas need reform, and each would be addressing different things. The beauty of RCV is that it is a specific area of reform likely to leave voters feeling as if their voice is being heard, and this in turn (so the theory goes) will help voters feel more invested in working to improve other facets of the election process. In this way, RCV is like a gateway reform, and if it did lead to increased involvement and support for further reform, you would get the quantification you seek.

At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear All,

This is the most absurd proposal ever. It is the move the EXTREME LEFT to take over Eureka. Look at the supporters. In a prior version of the the web site that is referenced, there was a direct quote from a true revolutionary. Look the wacko stuff on the web site. These are just far leftist activists. Even Berkeley and Arcata don't have something this extreme.

Chris Kerrigan, a young, ignorant and unemployed political opportunist, who has no compass other than gaining power, has become a pawn of the EXTREME LEFT and cannot be reasoned with. I would not waste your time talking with him. However, Mike Jones is a bright person who can be reasoned with. You should voice your objections to him.

Please voice your objection to this EXTREME idea.
Rob Arkley


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