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 Response Page - Craig Swaggart  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Craig Swaggart Interview of

The Questions:

_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 candidates?

_4.9 average___ On a scale of (0) strong disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong agreement, should IRV be used in general elections?

Mark Ritchie

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 decisions.

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 elections.

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.

Vici Oshiro
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.  

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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