My posts, as of late, have centered around the recent Green Party Debate in Alameda County, California. One of the questions at the discussion/debate was in regards to the "spoiler" question. Many of the responses reminded me of why I bought the domain name votedifferent.org. This got me thinking, what would my response be to the "spoiler" question? ...
First off, let me give you a little background on what the "spoiler" situation is. In the 2000 election for President, Ralph Nader ran as a Green Party candidate. Some of you may remember that the election was extremely close (537 votes) and came down to a series of recounts in the state of Florida. Many people, especially in the Democratic party, argue that people who voted for Ralph Nader in Florida ( over 93,000 ) would have voted for Al Gore. This same group of people blame Ralph Nader for costing Al Gore the election. So what do I think about the spoiler situation?
The fact that George W. Bush won the 2000 election made you angy. It made me angry too. Democracy is meant to allow the people of this nation to choose what is best for the country. A Democracy is often defined as majority rule. Majority can be defined as the number larger than half the total. In Florida, no candidate had a majority of the votes. George W. Bush had the plurality of votes but over half of that state voted against him. By law he gets to be President but if you believe in Democracy as majority rule you should feel that election law needs to change. You might say, “What other option is there?” You might even come up with the idea of, “Could we not proclaim a winner until someone gets a majority of the votes?” Then fear of the unknown creeps in and you might say, “But we might never choose a President!”
There are options to our electoral system and it comes down to this. In a Democracy where you can’t vote your conscious you might not vote at all. In our Democracy the majority do not vote. In a Democracy people are often willing to have their second choice count as long as their original choice is heard. There is a system that allows people to vote their conscious and ,at the same time, let their second( third, fourth, etc ) choice have weight. It is called runoff voting.
There are many different types of runoff voting systems but the most promising for the United States is instant runoff voting(IRV). Instant runoff voting allows people to rank their candidate preference. The system then takes these rankings into account, removing last place candidates until we finally get to a majority. Rather than explain it with words, here is a video explanation of the system.
If a system like this were in place, even just in the state of Florida, people might be thanking Ralph Nader instead of ostracizing him. They’d be thanking Nader for helping to get more people to vote and getting Al Gore elected. Of course, that would only be the case if indeed Nader candidates second choice would have been Al Gore( which I believe as well ).
More information about instant runoff voting and other election reform can be found at FairVote.org. You can find out what is happening around the country as well as find some ways that you can make a difference in your own community.
For your viewing pleasure, here is a video of the politician who got me excited about grass root politics talking about instant runoff voting.
PS-I just bought the domain name voteEqual.com