Instant Run-off Voting a Tool to Strengthen Democracy
Interview with Dennis Burke, electoral reform activist, conducted by Scott Harris
Many aspects of the U.S. electoral system have come under scrutiny since the calamitous presidential election of 2000 was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Issues getting renewed attention include the often burdensome process of registering voters, ensuring that once-cast votes are counted fairly and criticism of the Electoral College and the winner take-all two-party system for being less than democratic.
Any overhaul of the Electoral College would require a constitutional amendment, and a substantive shift away from the monopoly power of Democrats and Republicans is likely years away. But there is one electoral reform that could be ushered in simply by a majority vote in state legislatures and/or the Congress. It's called instant run-off voting, a widely used method of ranking a voter's preference for candidates, allowing citizens to support third parties without running the risk of the "spoiler effect."
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with activist Dennis Burke who worked in Arizona to help pass that state's clean money campaign finance law. He co-authored 94-year-old Doris "Granny D" Haddock's book recounting her cross-country trek advocating campaign finance reform, and is currently supporting Haddock's bid for the U.S. Senate. Burke explains the difference between instant run-off voting and proportional representation, and why he believes instant run-off voting would expand Americans' democratic possibilities.
For more information on instant run-off voting, call the Center for Voting and Democracy at (301) 270-4616, or visit their website at: www.fairvote.org
"National Lawyers Guild Considers Campaign to Impeach Supreme Court Justices Who Stopped Florida Vote Count,"by Scott Harris, Between The Lines for the Week Ending Aug. 10, 2001
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Credits: Senior news editor: Bob Nixon Program narration: Denise Manzari News reader: Indu Anan Segment producer: Melinda Tuhus