Friday, July 01, 2011

Without IRV, Plan for Chaos

The district 54 special election for State Representative down in Crittenden County offers a taste of what is to come without Instant Run-off Voting.

There is a Democrat in the race (Hudson Hallum), an Independent with Democrat ties, (D'James Rogers), and a Republican (John Geelan). Just to make it a little more interesting, Hallum is white, and Rogers is black.

There is a significant chance of splitting the normally sufficient Democrat vote in this race. Crittenden county could be represented by a Republican with much less than 50% of the vote. In fact whoever the winner is will likely have the support of less than half of the community. This is an unstable and unsustainable situation, but you can expect to see more of it unless and until we ditch the "first past the post" method of deciding elections. We have run-offs for county judge, mayor, and all other local office. Why not the legislature?

I see this kind of thing happening in Democratic races in south Arkansas. I see Green Party or Libertarian Party candidates providing the same possibilities in certain Little-Rock area districts. And of course, the Tea Party has plenty of Republican legislators they are unhappy with, so that could lead to the same outcome.

People are already unhappy with the system. Imagine how they are going to feel when more and more often they are "represented" by people who have less than 50% support from their community. Why not IRV?

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