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By Bill Boyne
June 3, 2009
struggling through one of the state's longest election campaigns in the
Minnesota Senate race, we still don't have a final solution.
obviously effective reforms have been proposed, but they have not yet attracted
sufficient support for decisive action.
are some of the most critical reforms, all of which would lead to a stronger
and more equitable election system:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
estimated that these reforms -- taken together -- would reduce election costs
by $1 million and would result in a substantial increase in voter
addition, strict regulations governing elections would encourage a greater
number of qualified candidates to seek office.
all the advantages resulting from an efficient election system, there should be
no delay in adopting the necessary reforms.
Boyne is a retired publisher and editor of the Post-Bulletin. His column
appears every Wednesday.