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Editorial: Minneapolis should try voting by number

Top 10 reasons (most of them serious) to vote YES on the instant runoff voting charter question on the November ballot.

Editorial in Minneapolis Star Tribune
Published: October 09, 2006
http://www.startribune.com/561/story/726741.html

10) If you like majority rule, you need a new voting method. The one Minnesota uses now is plurality rule.

9) Third parties -- and fourth, fifth and sixth parties -- are here to stay. Without a change, pluralities, not majorities, will decide the winners in more and more elections.

8) Rank three or more candidates in order of preference, and you've cast a guilt-free ballot. You can vote for your favorite without worrying that you've actually helped elect your least favorite.

7) Getting the whole state to switch to an untested new way of voting is nigh unto impossible. Instant runoff voting needs a test.

6) Long-ballot Minneapolis, where just about everybody except the dog catcher is elected, is a great IRV testing ground. If instant runoff voting can make it there, it can make it anywhere.

5) A new way of voting will take some explanation. Where better to do that than in the city that may be the Public Meeting Capital of the World?

4) Instant runoff voting would eliminate the city primary, which isn't the great exercise in democracy it's cracked up to be. Only about one out of seven of the city's registered voters came to the polls on Sept. 13, 2005, to decide which candidates would advance to the ballot two months later.

3) Keeping more candidates in the running in October will enrich the political stew. The ideas they tout will get wider exposure.

2) Instant runoff voting will inspire candidates to appeal for those important second-choice votes. That should stifle at least some of the smear tactics Minnesota is seeing too often today.

1) If kids can learn to paint by number, grownups can learn to vote by number.

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