These comments are responses
to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
_6.2 average___ On a scale of (0) strong
disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong agreement, should Instant
Runoff Voting (IRV) be used in primary elections?
_3.6 average___ On a scale of (0) strong
disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong agreement, would use of
IRV in primary elections reduce the likelihood of third party
_4.9 average___ On a scale of (0) strong
disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong agreement, should IRV be
used in general elections?
Thanks for this great interview -- you might talk to the head of the
Libertarian Party, Bob Oddem as well.
David Broden (0) (0) (0)
1. Voting and government is a binary world --we need to make decisions
and work to live with them and then make corrections the next time
around. Delaying-deferring or waffling on a decision regarding who are
the best candidates will not help and may even expand the wandering
thought the voters sometime seek and have. We need to stick to making
specific decisions --or should I say get back to making solid
2. Third party candidates come because of a idea--single issue
--personality etc. The voting process will not change who gets in the
race and when. The third party candidates want to have a way to make a
point or get attention and that will continue regardless.
3. See comments on question 1. The election process is about making a
binary decision--we can't have some of this and some of that -- or say
maybe a candidate is good but maybe this one is a bit better etc. Make
decisions on leadership and then follow up in the next election cycle
with voting the person in or out--voting half in/half out is not a
reasonable way to govern. Our founding fathers would wonder what has
happened if we go to the multiple choice decision process for
Scott Halstead (10) (0) (0)
Bill Frenzel (0) (5) (0)
We have previously speculated that polling for various elections would
be an interesting preliminary test of IRV, as would its use in Prez
Preference Primaries. Since our Twin Cities want to use it, we are
likely to see more about how it works under various conditions in the
next couple of years.
However, I am nowhere near willing to recommend that it be used in
State or Federal elections. First, the Constitutional questions need
to be resolved. But also, I have a hard time swallowing the fact that
the election may depend on the second (or later) choices of the voters
who lost the first time around. Perhaps my understanding is imperfect,
but it seems manifestly unfair that the voters who lost in the first
round then become the ultimate "deciders" the next time.
It is much too crude a description, but it is still hard to escape the
feeling that this system was devised by losers to give themselves a
second bite at the apple.
* * * * *
What the system does to 3rd party candidates is, for me, pure
speculation. It is worth trying to anticipate unintended, or unknown,
consequences of election law changes, but trying to outguess voters
and candidates is not usually a profitable occupation. The only thing
that has kept the laws relatively fair is the fact that parliamentary
majorities guess wrong (the biter gets bit) as often as they guess
right when making changes.
Robert A. Freeman (4) (3) (2)
I have yet to see any evidence that IRV produces any of the benefits
it says it does - e.g. increased turnout, even though it has been in
place in many jurisdictions for years. Until its proponents can
demonstrate the benefits they claim I see no compelling reason to
change our current system. I certainly don't believe in changing the
political system to help one party (the IP) be more competitive.
Charles Lutz (8) (5) (8)
Alan Miller (9) (2) (9)
Donald H. Anderson (4) (5) (7)
Use in general elections may neutralize the extreme positions now
shown by the major parties.
David Alden (10) (3) (8)
Joe Mansky (8) (5) (0)
The use of ranked voting in the state primary might be useful if the
major parties decided to adopt multiple endorsements and if the
endorsed candidates were identified as such on the ballot.
And, as you know, the use of ranked voting in general elections is
likely prohibited by the Minnesota constitution.
I await results of experience in Mpls or elsewhere. I like IRV but
wonder if voters will listen long enough to understand.
Al Quie (0) (0) (0)
Jim Olson (10) (5) (10)
David Hutcheson (0) (0) (9)
It seems to me that the point of IRV is to replace the primary
election entirely. I watched it work through one (quite short)
election cycle in Australia. With six significant parties involved,
the parties not only nominated their own candidates, but would endorse
members of other parties in the sense that they would recommend that
their voters select these endorsees as second or third choices.
Craig Swaggert didn't mention that in 2004, the IP conducted a
caucus-night non-binding IRV balloting for president of the US. As I
recall, there were about ten candidates on the ballot and some others
written in. The last four standing when the count was done were Bush,
Kerry, Nader and Edwards, with roughly equal vote totals. But the
succeeding rounds eliminated three of the four, with John Edwards
emerging as the favorite. Coincidentally, it was on the evening of the
caucus, just too late to be known by the voters, that John Edwards
announced his withdrawal from the race. My impression at the time was
that the method had a lot of power to create the closest thing
possible to a majority consensus in a race where the makings of a real
consensus just weren't there. But for voters who indicated on their
ballot that the eventual winner was their fifth or sixth choice, or
not their choice at any level, the result can be pretty disappointing.
Larry Schluter (7) (7) (7)
I am still not that comfortable or knowledgeable about IRV.
Wayne Jennings (9) (3) (6)
I would like to see some information about Instant Runoff Voting
results in communities where it is being used. It strikes me as a good
practice but I do not know of its drawbacks.
Clarence Shallbetter (8) (5) (2)
Dan Loritz (8) (5) (5)
Jim Keller (8) (2) (0)
Eric Schubert (yes) (no) (yes)
Chris Brazelton (10) (3) (10)
I have studied IRV as an individual and as a member of the League of
Women Voters and I wholeheartedly support it. Craig Swaggert was
absolutely right in that moderate candidates have a much tougher time
getting endorsed by the activists in the parties, and it would
eliminate the idea of the wasted vote.
While it would require education of the voters, I think ultimately it
could result in increased voter participation.
Paul Gaston (0) (10) (0)
Jeffrey Gunness (9) (5) (9)
I have seen first hand how polarized both parties have become. For any
progress to happen there has to be more of a middle of the road option
for voters since the majority of them are more centered.
Beth Mercer-Taylor (10) (5) (10)
William Kuisle (0) (5) (0)
Patti Hague (10) (0) (10)
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.