Today’s Sexy Beach Reading Post: Election Reform

The Star Tribune is pulling out the perennial election reform editorial. Let’s take a look at how instant runoff voting and fusion voting could have kept our state out of the news.

Dean Barkley only got 15% of the vote and everyone with two feet on the ground expected that. If we had instant runoff voting, I’m not going to suggest Barkley would have won, but I will say one of the two Man-Children he ran against probably would have had a much clearer mandate after all was said and done.

Michele Bachmann won reelection despite her very strident, best efforts–no one expected that. If we had fusion voting, the Change Vote would have been unified and Bachmann would have been defeated by a potentially double-digit margin, like she should have been. Had the Independence Party been able to nominate someone on another party’s ticket, that would not have left the door open to another change candidate to run on a credible party’s ticket (and like it or not, people looking for change do see the IP as a credible party to vote for). The change vote was split instead of united and now we have at least two more years of a raving loon to look forward to.

I’m no fool. I don’t see fusion voting or instant runoff voting as magical gateways to European-style multiparty democracy. This is America, land of the Two Party System (Plus Some Strong Independents Sometimes, but Shh! Two Parties!). This is not about changing the duopoly. This is about ensuring that the public’s will for support or change is heard instead of being dismissed due to procedure and that each person elected has a clear mandate to lead, not some joke of a plurality. 42% with a margin of only three digits (or hell, even four) out of two and a half million is not a mandate. Neither Franken nor Coleman deserve this election. And winning by two points because your constituency couldn’t figure out which of your opponents was the better Anyone But Bachmann choice is not a mandate—it’s dumb luck.

The bottom line is this: if more people vote against you than vote for you, you should not win. These reforms unequivocally fix that.

2 Comments so far

  1. Ryan (oryan) on December 3rd, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

    Well, we’re supposedly getting IRV for city-level elections in the next election. This will be a breath of fresh air, and maybe get people wondering why we don’t have this at the state level, especially with political trolls like Bachmann, and the ridiculousness of this year’s debacle.

  2. kevinfromminneapolis on December 3rd, 2008 @ 7:32 pm

    Just pick one. It’s not that hard.

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