June 10, 2008 At its state convention, June 6-8, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party adopted instant runoff voting (IRV).
It was one of only 26 platform resolutions to pass with the requisite 60 percent support from the delegates and qualifies for the DFL Action Agenda. The endorsement effort was led by FairVote Minnesota, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advancing the statewide initiative for instant runoff voting. It is seeking support from all political parties.
DFL Chair Brian Melendez, who was disappointed IRV didn't pass in 2006, said, "I support ranked choice voting, including instant-runoff voting, because it is the fairest and most efficient way of holding elections in a diverse society. Ranked-choice voting's fairness -- to the individual voter, to each group of voters, and to the candidates -- surpasses any other voting system. Instant-runoff voting ensures that our elected leaders get elected with support from a clear majority, not just a plurality, and it removes any incentive for strategic misrepresentation so that the voters can vote their true preferences. A ranked-choice system promotes diversity, and fully satisfies the right to an effective vote".
His national counterpart, Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean, has also been a long-time IRV supporter. In Minnesota, Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller head a long list of state legislators and elected officials who support IRV.
The Minnesota DFL is the fourth state Democratic party to adopt IRV, following the Democratic parties of California, Colorado and Maine. The Republican Party of Alaska supports IRV and the Utah Republican Party uses IRV for state convention elections. IRV is also a core platform of the Independence Party and Green Party in Minnesota and the Green Party of the United States.
This list is likely to grow with the support of several presidential hopefuls, including Democrat Barack Obama, Republican John McCain, Libertarian Bob Barr, independent Ralph Nader and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney.
Instant runoff voting lets voters rank candidates in order of preference on the ballot. If a candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, that candidate wins. If not, the lowest vote-getter is dropped and his/her votes are redistributed to remaining candidates based on the second choice on those voters ballots. This process is repeated until one candidate reaches a majority. It's like a traditional runoff, but in a single election.
Sharon Endicott, chair of Kanabec County DFL, one of the delegates who supported the resolution, said, Im excited about IRV and well be demonstrating how it works with a mock election at our upcoming DFL fundraiser.
The Minnesota DFL joins a broad and rapidly growing coalition of organizations for IRV, including the League of Women Voters, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Star Tribune, TakeAction Minnesota, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, Citizens for Election Integrity and The White House Project.
Nationally, a sampling of IRV supporters includes the Brookings Institute Unity 08 Project, New America Foundation and the National Latino Congress. See a full list of organizational and individual endorsements at www.fairvotemn.org and www.fairvote.org.
Voters like IRV because it empowers them with choice and enables them to vote their true preference without feeling like they'll waste their vote.
In St. Paul, Minn., more than 7,000 petition signatures have been submitted to put an IRV charter amendment on the ballot this November. If adopted, St. Paul will become one of nearly two dozen cities, including Minneapolis, to bring a better way of voting to their community. Click here to read story. Watch video featuring political stars former mayor George Latimer, former US Senator David Durenberger and many others.
FFI: Contact Jeanne Massey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763.807.2550.
FairVote Minnesota: www.fairvotemn.org
Saint Paul Better Ballot Campaign: http://stpaul.betterballotcampaign.org/
Last Updated: June 10, 2008. 9:00 pm