FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Amy Brendmoen
Saint Paul Citizens Launch Petition Drive to Bring Instant Run-Off Voting (IRV) to City Elections
March 5, 2007 - A grassroots group of citizens have formed an initiative to implement Instant Run-Off Voting (IRV) in the Saint Paul Mayoral and City Council elections. The Saint Paul Better Ballot Campaign intends to put the IRV question on the 2007 ballot to let voters decide whether or not to change how City officials are elected. More than 5000 signatures of registered Saint Paul voters are required by May 6th to put the question on the 2007 ballot. The petition drive will kick-off tomorrow, Tuesday, March 6, at the DFL Precinct Caucuses in all wards and will continue at major events throughout Saint Paul.
Instant Run-Off Voting allows the voter to rank the candidates on the ballot in races where there are more than two candidates. If a candidate obtains a majority, they are declared the winner. If no candidate obtains over fifty percent (50%) in the first round, the lowest vote getters second choice votes are distributed to the remaining candidates and added to their totals. This process goes on until one candidate obtains a majority of the votes cast by all voters. Further, IRV is accomplished in a single election. The primary election, which in Saint Paul has extremely low voter turn out, is eliminated.
We are certain that at least 5000 St. Paul residents are ready for change, said Gena Berglund of the Better Ballot Campaign. Instant run-off voting would bring a much-needed breath of fresh air to our citys election season.
Importantly, IRV assures that the winning candidate has obtained the approval of the majority of voters. It has shown to increase voter participation and put a damper on negative campaigning - candidates are less likely to go negative as they need second and third choice votes from those supporting their opponents. IRV also eliminates the spoiler candidate problem and concerns of wasting ones vote.
The petition can be downloaded from the groups website at http://stpaul.betterballotcampaign.org. A listing of events where petitions can be signed can also be found on the site.