Viewpoints: Constitution's anti-democratic, outdated values in need of purge Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010 Blair Bobier
Although George Bush's 2000 election is perhaps the starkest example of the shortcomings of the Electoral College, it must be noted that Bill Clinton was twice elected without a majority vote. This irrational electoral process is not only undemocratic, it results in a political beauty pageant devoid of serious scrutiny or debate. Using instant-runoff voting to elect our president, as the Republic of Ireland does, would encourage consideration of a diversity of candidates, allow for substantive debate and ensure that our national leader has the broadest support possible.
Free speech for all, a representative government and a democratically elected president: "The world's greatest democracy" should settle for nothing less.
Bobier holds up Ireland's Presidential office and election as an example to the US. But there is no comparison at all! Consider the facts: while Ireland's presidential office is mostly a ceremonial position, the election is only held every 7 years, and turnout for the last election was only 1.2 million voters total (out of about 2.4 million registered voters, about 50% turnout). Compare that to US Presidential election with over 131.2 million voters (615 turnout) held every 4 years.
How on earth would you administer and count a nationwide IRV election? IRV is not additive. There is no such thing as a "subtotal" in IRV. In IRV every single vote may have to be sent individually to the central agency. How is this even feasible? A national IRV election would make Bush v Gore seem a walk in the park.
Bobier's statement that instant runoff voting would increase debate is not based on fact. Wherever IRV is adopted debate has been sadly lacking. In fact, citizens of Burlington Vermont cite IRV's negative impact on debate as one of several reasons for a vote on repealing instant runoff voting this March 2010.
Instant runoff voting is a well intended election reform, but is not practical, does not meet its promise, violates election transparency practices, and makes elections overly complex.
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