Authored on June 03, 2009

CHAPTER 8230

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By Bill Boyne

Post-Bulletin, Rochester, Minnesota

June 3, 2009

After

struggling through one of the state's longest election campaigns in the

Minnesota Senate race, we still don't have a final solution.

Many

obviously effective reforms have been proposed, but they have not yet attracted

sufficient support for decisive action.

Here

are some of the most critical reforms, all of which would lead to a stronger

and more equitable election system:

1. Eliminate

the voter registration problems by registering voters automatically. Everyone

reaching the age of 18 would be registered to vote. Most other countries use

this system. It would add about 50 million potential voters and would avoid the

problems that occur when there is a huge increase in voter registrations just

prior to an election.

2.

Elect a president based on the popular vote, not on the Electoral College vote.

If this had been done in the 2000 election, the winner would have been Al Gore,

who was far better qualified than George Bush. The Electoral College is a

superfluous addition to the election system that actually reduces its

efficiency. All we need to know is which candidate is the first choice of a

majority of the nation's voters.

3.

Adopt Ranked Choice Voting, in which voters indicate their preferences by

stating their first choice, second choice, third choice and so forth. The

candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the votes cast for that

candidate are counted for the remaining candidates, based on the retiring

candidate's second and third choices.

This

process is continued until one candidate has a majority of votes and is

elected. This process is favored by Fair Vote Minnesota, Post Office Box 19440, Minneapolis MN 55415-0040.

The organization's e-mail address is www.fairvotemn.org. The plan is similar to

a system called Instant Runoff Voting (IRV).

4.

Strict requirements should be established for voting machines. Voting machines

should not be subject to manipulation and they must have an automatic recount

audit comparing the electronic vote total with the voter-verified paper record.

It is

estimated that these reforms -- taken together -- would reduce election costs

by $1 million and would result in a substantial increase in voter

participation.

In

addition, strict regulations governing elections would encourage a greater

number of qualified candidates to seek office.

With

all the advantages resulting from an efficient election system, there should be

no delay in adopting the necessary reforms.

Bill

Boyne is a retired publisher and editor of the Post-Bulletin. His column

appears every Wednesday.