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 Response Page - Massey-Hottinger Interview - Instant Runoff Voting   

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Jeanne Massey / John Hottinger Interview of 03/07/08.

The questions:

____ 1. On a scale of (0), strongly disagree, to (5) neutral, to (10), strongly agree, how do you feel about the assertion that IRV would provide a way for winning candidates to receive a majority of votes, not just a plurality.

____ 2. On a scale of (0), strongly disagree, to (5) neutral, to (10), strongly agree, how do you feel about the assertion that IRV would empower voters who support candidates with moderate views.

____ 3. On a scale of (0), strongly disagree, to (5) neutral, to (10), strongly agree, how do you feel about the assertion that IRV would reduce the need for primary elections.

____ 4. On a scale of (0), strongly disagree, to (5) neutral, to (10), strongly agree, how do you feel about the assertion that IRV would increase voter interest and participation.

Eric Schubert (10) (10) (10) (10)

Tony Solgård (10) (10) (10) (10)
1. Besides assuring majority winners in single-winner elections, the lower threshold when several are elected in at-large elections is also important. This allows Republicans in heavily DFL districts an opportunity to elect a representative, and vice versa. This gives more voters opportunity to translate votes into accurate representation and makes more--or even all--seats competitive.

2. I think a better/more accurate way to say this is that IRV encourages a more civil tone to the campaign through its incentive for candidates to broaden their appeal to include supporters of their rivals. That would be true for left, center, and right. There is not a bias toward one political perspective.

3. It bears repeating that it is only nonpartisan primary elections that would not be needed because of IRV. Partisan nominating primaries would still be needed and, as was noted, could benefit from the use of IRV by helping parties put their best candidate forward.

4. It is a no-brainer that eliminating half the process in which there is low interest will raise the averages--by definition. In addition, however, more viable choices in the general election will certainly have greater appeal to voters.

Bob Brown (0) (0) (5) (0)
This would just be another way for people to manipulate elections. I can see all kinds of new ways to play games - get more people with similar names to file for an office, for example. Except sometime in presidential elections we never have enough people voting to make it likely that the winner will actually get a majority of all eligible votes so there would still be complaints about rule by the minority.

Don Fraser (10) (10) (8) (8)
IRV is a good (and welcome) idea.

Ellen T. Brown (10) (9) (___) (9)
Re primaries, personally (not as a representative of FairVote) I would like to see IRV in partisan as well as non-partisan races. Used in primaries by the parties; then used in the general across parties. With IRV, I suspect we are likely to see candidates from more parties in the general election and IRV would let voters be honest with their first choice vote without feeling they are wasting their vote.

Tom Neuville (0) (0) (0) (1)

Bruce Kennedy (10) (10) (8) (8)

Jim Hetland (10) (7) (8) (8)

David Broden (7) (3) (0) (5)
The IRV concept seems to be just another emphasis on the democratic approach to government rather than more focus on electing an individual to the particular office to make informed decisions based on a) public opinions; b) well stated lobby or informed information; c) his best judgment based on thought and consideration. I for one will state strongly that we need more effective representative government and trust in our officials to make the right decision not only on the general public opinion but on what is right for good government based on collective thought. I just do not see how IRV can do this.

Lyall Schwarzkopf (10) (2) (10) (1)

Scott Halstead (10) (10) (10) (___)

Clarence Shallbetter (6) (4) (2) (3)

Peter Hennessey (0) (0) (0) (0)
IRV sets up a phony contest among candidates. If a run-off is needed, my choice very much depends on who else is running. You can't possibly foretell every possible pairing of one runoff candidate against another and tabulate my choices in every case (if it's A vs B then I choose A, if it's A vs C then I choose C, etc.). There is not much point is asking for my vote if at the same time I also have to decide, if my candidate loses, who is my next-best candidate. It's easy to think this way if there isn't a dime's worth of difference between them (such as Hillary vs Barak), but you have to look at the actual situation, not hypotheticals, if the candidates represent real differences and offer real choices (such as Thompson vs Giuliani vs Romney vs McCain).

2a. IRV sets up only the ILLUSION that the candidate with a majority wins, an illusion created by a mathematical scheme, not by an actual real-life vote as opposed to make-believe vote.

2b. Cute claim but where's the proof? And who says it is a good thing if a "moderate" wins? By definition a "moderate" believes in no standards, therefore has no basis by which to evaluate and judge anything. A "moderate" has no principles, stands for nothing, therefore falls for anything.

2c. Yeah, IRV eliminates the need to make REAL choices in REAL situations. Anyway the claim is not provable. You can't run the same election under IRV one time and under conventional rules at another time or both at the same time, to see if you get the same result, so how the hell can such a claim be made?

2d. Another un-provable claim. IRV certainly has not achieved this goal in SF. Read the papers and watch TV at election time...

Ann Schluter (0) (0) (7) (0)
1) Assigning the vote for one candidate to another without the voter's approval may very well create a false majority. As a voter, I may want to withdraw my vote completely rather than have it assigned to a candidate or candidates that I cannot abide.
2) If you have 3 candidates two of whom are right and/or left of center and one moderate and the moderate comes in third, how does that empower the moderate? Choice is what empowers the voter not reassignment of votes.
4)_I cannot agree that a process of automatic redistribution of a losing candidate's votes would increase voter interest and participation. It certainly will add to the political maneuvering and positioning by candidates and impact strategies, but interest and participation of the voter is more likely driven by issues, candidate appeal and ideology.

Tom Swain (10) (10) (7) (9)

Elaine Voss (5) (5) (6) (1)
I think voters might find it intimidating. I don't believe when people go to the polls they think about an order of who they will support. I really believe people go to the polls to vote for their candidate of choice. This might become a learned process. I think it will be very difficult for the older voter (my mom is 90) and will make them feel disenfranchised--just what does my vote mean?? I am very supportive of the wonderful people supporting this proposal, they are all friends of mine who have been thru many battles together with me. I truly believe they want the process better, I not sure this is the answer. BUT I would add, if we don't try some processes we'll never know what would make a better system. I don't think this one will do it. There are so many questions about the counting process. It is complex enough to raise questions. I am in a position to talk with election officials around the state--they think the process could work with a lot of programming, but their question (along with mine) is what are we accomplishing?? Getting rid of a primary election? Long proven better than party endorsements. Having officers elected by a majority?? I think the majority vote doesn't hold water with this system. It takes a first and second vote, or maybe a second and third choice. Do we have a perfect system?? I'm not sure. But I'm not sure this process is better. I have said--if this the process, I'll be there trying to make sure it works. I'm not afraid of change, but what "boogey man" are we chasing?

Ed Dirkswager (10) (10) (10) (6)

Martin Sabo (0) (0) (0) (0)

Marianne Curry (10) (10) (10) (10)
This appears to me to be a good way to encourage moderate thinkers to participate at a higher rate in local elections. I agree with the strategy to introduce the idea at the local level of government first.

Bright Dornblaser (10) (10) (10) (5)

Greer Lockhart (10)  (7)  (5)  (5)



The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  Lee Canning,  Charles Clay, Bill Frenzel, 
Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  Wayne Popham  and  John Rollwagen.  

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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