Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Dean's Vision Realized: Instant Runoff Voting Has a Future in Minneapolis

Dean's Endorsement of IRV
Leads to Activism in

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean has long supported instant runoff voting (IRV), including his home state of Vermont. Dr. Dean referenced IRV frequently during his presidential campaign and in a 2004 article he advocated for IRV in presidential primaries.

In an April 2005 visit to Minneapolis, Dean said: "I'm a huge fan of Instant Runoff Voting." The principal reason he cited for his support is the spoiler effect that divides the majority of the voters, resulting in a winner who was opposed by the majority. He gave the 2000 presidential election split between Al Gore and Ralph Nader as an example. Dean said IRV is a win-win solution that allows the third party to get a true showing of support and the major party candidate to still benefit from those votes. source

"If I could do anything I wanted and have campaign finance reform, here's what I would do. I would have small donations allowed, $100 or less. I would have public financing of everybody's campaign. And I would limit people's spending, so nobody could go outside the public financing system. And I would have instant run-off voting, so, when you had more candidates than just two, the person with a majority of votes would win. Now, that's what I would like to do. I believe in campaign finance reform. But I don't believe in campaign finance reform that gives a significant advantage to the Republican Party. And that's what we have now" ("NewsNight," CNN, 11/12/2003- source)

The shared dream of IRV by both Dean and Kucinich supporters lead to the formation of the Minneapolis Better Ballot Campaign: a broad-based and energetic charter amendment initiative to bring Instant Runoff Voting to Minneapolis. Senator Scott Dibble, who was the first elected official in Minnesota to endorse Howard Dean, is a member of the organization's advisory board. The campaign's organizing committee also includes former MN for Dean organizers Sarah Burt and Mandy Tempel, along with Dean volunteer and former park board candidate Jason Stone.

The campaign is aimed at amending the Minneapolis city charter to make Instant Runoff Voting the method by which we elect our city officials. This change in voting method must be approved by the voters on a general election ballot before it can be used, and a massive petition drive has begun to place the IRV charter amendment on the November 2006 ballot.

The campaign has the endorsements from elected officials, candidates, and organizations. Both the Green and Independence Parties of MN have endorsed IRV and with your help the MN DFL will take a stand on this issue. The Better Ballot Campaign is actively pursuing the endorsement of the Minneapolis DFL and it's delegates by advocating for the addition of a statement supporting IRV to the Minneapolis DFL Platform.

Recently our own Denny Wagner, former Democracy for MN Education Co-Coordinator, had this to say about the Minneapolis Better Ballot Campaign's resolution for the Minneapolis DFL to endorse Instant Runoff Voting for city elections:

"Now I have a reason to go to caucuses. I've been so tuned out since the election (intentional, I'm completely burnt out on politics) that I don't have a candidate to aggressively support through the caucus/conventions this year. But IRV is an issue I can get behind 100%. I consider it to be the solution to one of the two biggest plagues on our country's election system: the two-party power system (the other being special interest money)."

Now everyone in Minneapolis can join Denny by attending your precinct caucus on March 7 and submitting an IRV resolution.

To learn more about what you can do to bring instant runoff voting to Minneapolis, please go to: www.betterballotcampaign.org.


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