News

In the news: media coverage of IRV and PR

In the wake of a recent campaign dirty trick by DFLer SamGarst to help the candidacy of BillLuther, the Star Tribune (July 19, 2002) said in its lead editorial that "theproblem cries out forMinnesota's adoption of an instant-run-off electionprocedure." The editorial continued that the "third party phenomenon hasmoved Minnesota into uncharted political waters" that will require someadjustments. "Instant runoff voting is one of the most important of thosechanges." http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/3073041.html(See also DFLer files for Congress under"No New Taxes Party" for more aboutthe Garst ploy).

Eric Olson,deputy director of the Center for Voting and Democracy, was the guest onMinnesota Public Radio's Midday with GaryEichten (July 18, 2002). Eichten, who openly broadcast his disdain for thesubject in promos for the segment, recruited former University of Minnesotapolitical science professor Steven Smithto the program in hopes of countering Olson's advocacy of Instant RunoffVoting. Eichten was disappointed, however, when Smith strongly supportedOlson's critique of plurality voting systems and only countered by saying hepreferred Approval Voting, another alternative to plurality elections. Olsonpointed out the need for a mechanism to assure majority rule in Minnesota'smulti-party political environment. He made the link between Instant RunoffVoting and the American public's familiarity and comfort with runoffelections, pointing out that Instant Runoff Voting has many advantages overtwo-round runoffs as well. Rep. PhyllisKahn was among those calling in to the program. Kahn declared herself to bea strong supporter of Instant Runoff Voting and cited her sponsorship of a billto use IRV in state elections. Eichten reported that MPR had canvassed the majorparty candidates for Secretary of State to learn their views on IRV. TheGreens' Andrew Koebrick was reported to be strongly in favor of IRV. IndependenceParty candidate Dean Alger was saidto be leaning toward supporting it. DFLer BuckHumphrey was described as considering it and would be inclined to support itif it improved voter turnout. The incumbent, Republican Mary Kiffmeyer, said she is undecided, but that Instant RunoffVoting merits debate. You can hear the webcast of the program at http://news.mpr.org/programs/midday/listings/md20020715.shtml.Scroll down to Thursday July 18.

Local activist WillDonovan III ("Time to change voting" June 29, 2002) identifies themulti-candidate field for governor as a reason for adopting instant runoffvoting in a letter to the editor of the StarTribune.

http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/3021784.html

"The Ventura Legacy," (June 27, 2002) includes failureto champion instant runoff voting, says MicahL. Sifry in The Nation. Instead ofpushing promising political reforms like IRV and campaign finance reform, Sifrysays Governor Jesse Ventura"focused his energies on a quixotic quest for a unicameral legislature..."Sifry also remembers Ventura's little-noticed success at creating morecompetitive legislative districts, a concept introduced by FairVote Minnesota inits groundbreaking November 1999 study, No-ContestElections.The report can be downloaded as a pdf at http://www.fairvotemn.org/resources/publications/publications.html.Sifry's article in The Nation is at

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=special&s=sifry20020627

FairVote Minnesota vice chair Carol Veldman Rudie was a guest on the KYCR AM program, "Beyondthe silence and the double talk," hosted by AliceKreitz (June 28, 2002). Broadcast on AM 1570, KYCR is a conservativeChristian talk radio station. Rudie explained how alternative voting systemscould address problems inherent in plurality elections in single-memberdistricts. Rudie said instant runoff voting would assure majority rule inmulti-candidate contests and proportional representation would represent manyvoters who are permanently unrepresented under the current system. Rudie furthernoted that the Utah Republican Party recently used Instant Runoff Voting toendorse its candidates for US Congress and other public offices. Kreitzresponded that these voting methods would make everyone's vote really countand give them an incentive to turn out to vote. She urged Secretary of State MaryKiffmeyer and Republican Party leader RonEibensteiner to embrace these voting reforms.

In a "blow-the-doors-open" column ("Will voters everagain settle for 2 choices?" June 27, 2002), StarTribune editorial writer LoriSturdevant points to the prospects for a new political order with instantrunoff voting and proportional representation. Her focus is Green Partygubernatorial candidate Ken Pentel,who has made adoption of better voting methods part of his campaign platform.

http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/3018139.html

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