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Dean and Sanders Fail on IRV
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Failure from the two top Burlington pols this week on the IRV question.

First from Dean speaking to reporters on Church Street along side a representative from the League of Women Voters. He said that the 'Hinda Miller' election did not use IRV, and that it had only been used once- in the most recent election. Before and after that embarrassing gaff, on which he was immediately corrected, he did a good job of spitting out the textbook arguments for IRV. But that flub kinda killed the whole press conference for him, it seemed to me. Kinda killed his credibility on this issue. I mean, did he not vote in the 2006 mayoral election? Maybe not.

Then yesterday I received a flyer in the mail with Bernard Sanders's picture on it. Here look:

I mean that's just embarrassing, right? Are we supposed to forget that Bernie's 1981 "10 Vote" victory over Gordon Paquette put Sanders in the mayor's office with just 43% in a race with a spoiler? I'm sorry but the "fifty percent matters" folks using Bernie's image like this is just, well- It just makes me embarrassed for everybody.

And by the way- it is simply not intellectually honest to equate a traditional majority with a the kind of majority manufactured through the instant runoff system. They are not the same and I'm sure Jason Lorber, Mark Larson, Bernie Sanders and Howard Dean all realize that.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 10:05 PM  
10 Comments:
  • At February 26, 2010 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There's a reason why Fair Vote is pumping money into burlington irv. They ran the whole irv campaign in 2005, sent Fair Vote staff here to manage it and funded it. Then, who did Burlington hire and pay to run the IRV's? The Fair Vote staffer who had set himself up in business. What does IRV cost the city -- the software, the management fees, etc.? IRV is a scam. Vote YES on #5 to eliminate IRV.

     
  • At February 26, 2010 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Have you seen the Burlington Community News full page celebrity ad for pro-IRV? It seems to have been written by someone who knows very little about what really happened here. Tells us that IRV allows the mayor to be more accountable-- allows? There's a tricky bit of wording. Celebrity ad tactic in St. Paul MN resulted in Fair Vote MN being fined the maximum for election law violatio. Burlington voters are pretty savvy. Their votes can't be bought by big money, red herring % diversion, or corporate influence peddling. #5 is a ballot question brought to the voters by citizen initiative, an end-run of council and city administration, is the only way people have a direct voice. Of course big money, Joan Shannon, Russ Ellis and thre mayor are trying to stop it.

     
  • At February 26, 2010 9:30 AM, Anonymous Charity said…

    Great point about Bernie, Haik.

    The thing that really bothers me about the pro-IRV campaign is the "50% matters" slogan. There is NO reason that we cannot change the rule to 50%, without IRV. It is 100% dishonest to equate the two.

     
  • At February 26, 2010 11:06 AM, Blogger JayV said…

    Great Post, Haik, and comment, Charity! Talk about mulcting the voters! - Jay Vos

     
  • At February 26, 2010 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'll be voting for Kurt Wright and I'll be voting to repeal IRV. AND I'M A DEMOCRAT!!!

    Says something about our Mayor and the way government is being run.

     
  • At February 26, 2010 1:43 PM, Blogger Owen Mulligan said…

    Vote at your polling location not by absentee!

     
  • At February 26, 2010 2:40 PM, Anonymous dale tillotson said…

    Bernie is pushing to keep IRV in Burlington and to expand it statewide as well as probably nationwide.
    Ya see Old Bernardo has been around the circle a few times and is probably contriving a way where he could be placed on a ballot at least 4 times. Progressive, Socialist, Independent, and Democrat, maybe a fifth, Green Party. I am guessing he will pass on a Republican nomination, but that is not for sure has he could lock up the whole ballot.
    The only thing IRV assures is that it makes people come up with accurate, stupid, arrogant, precise,and factual comments like this. Please rank 1 thru 5. Thank you.
    Sorry I forgot the tea party as well as others but space constraints make this a tainted election.
    Vote yes question #5, repeal and kiss IRV goodbye.

     
  • At February 27, 2010 10:39 AM, Anonymous jonas said…

    I debate the IRV thingy every once in a while with a real-life political scientist (from Burlington). From what I can tell, IRV tries to accomplish two things:

    1) Avoid the seriously and problematic drop off of voter turnout in runoff elections

    2) Make space for 3rd party candidates

    First, I suppose I can see some validity in making sure runnoffs dont diminish total vote count. But...we are socially engineering the system to account for people's apathy/laziness. Not sure that's a great idea.

    Second, Burlington has a REALLY strong 3rd party, which actually functions like the 1st party. That is, the Progs have had all sorts of power in Burlington for, what, 20+ years? The Dems seems to be the weaker 3rd party these days. The point being, nothing about the system had to be changed in order for the Progs to take the mayors office and Council. People believe certain things, they put up candidates, they vote for them. Didn't need the "system" to make it easier for them.

    Now, the idea of taking this statewide, it seems (if reason #2 is valid), assumes a great deal about the tenor of VT political leanings. That is, is there some silent 3rd party base out there that is so far under represented? I think there has to be some demonstration that there's a solid, representative political voice out there that isn't being heard before the system gets rejiggered to account for that voice.

    My in house political scientist reminded me that by having multiple choices, we actually stand a better chance of electing candidates who more people will be "ok" with, rather than candidates that a good number of people really won't like. In other words, a form of forced compromise. And I suppose there's some virtue in that. The argument continues that the 2-party system was set up long ago and has historically produces certain kinds of outcomes and certain people have been historically left out of the process. This, IRV allows for more voices. Ok, I get that.

    Buuuut, I think we should be thinking on terms of not just ideals (BT anyone?), but in terms of reality. Remember, the "3rd party" in Burlington is by no means a weak, under-represented party. Extrapolating the Burlington experience to the rest of the state? Seems ever so slightly arrogant/paternalistic. You really think folks up in Orleans or Essex county wan to do things the way they're done in Burlington??? There's a reason (or 10) why they live there, and not in Burlington.

    This seems to be a means vs. ends question. Are people concerned about how we elect, or whom we elect?

     
  • At February 27, 2010 6:35 PM, Blogger Morgan said…

    We would not be having this debate if Burlington were not a "special case" with 3 or 4 hats in the ring at every election cycle. IRV appeals to my head, maybe too much, but not to my heart. Those yellow signs in the snow are pretty effective with their "Keep It Simple (Stupid)" appeal (or K.I.S.S., pun intended). The average voter feels offended not only by IRV but also by the condescending "we know best" lecture from its supporters.

    I went to a good college, and to properly "game" my IRV vote, I would have to spend awhile with a pencil and pad to run through all the scenarios of each hand the computer at City Hall will deal . . . do I vote for the dark horse in round 2, to supress the tally of the guy I don't like who might come in 2nd in round 1? Or do I vote for the dark horse in round 1--he'll never win it--and vote for my guy in round 2, which is his only shot? But wait a minute . . . What if all the supporters of the guy I hate are thinking just like me? Maybe I better vote for the guy I can't stand in round ONE--because I know they are all gaming for him to win in round TWO. I'll vote for my guy in round 2--or maybe round 3; it's his best shot, really. That's the ticket! What if I "bullet" vote the guy I hate . . . in round 4?

    I need more paper.

     
  • At February 27, 2010 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Repeal IRV is a citizen initiative -- a question put on the ballot by petition signed by voters, not by politicians. Interesting how politicians have scrambled to oppose it with that phony majority argument! 50% is a red herring -- so few people vote, we always have a plurality of registered voters, and the percent is low. Let the voters tell the politicians how we want to vote, and then let the debate begin about 50%. We've got two years before the next mayoral election.

     
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