Telluride Takes the State Lead in Considering IRV Election Reform
by Art Goodtimes
Sep 25, 2008 | 642 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print

INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING … or Ranked Choice Voting, as it is also known, is an election reform that is finding significant purchase in progressive jurisdictions around the country. The city and county of San Francisco adopted it several years ago, and Santa Fe overwhelmingly approved it this past spring … But it’s not just progressive governments that like IRV. It is used internally by the Utah Republican Party. Why? Because it saves money. Instead of a second runoff vote after a first election to get to a majority winner, it lets people pick their favs beforehand, and then calculates who got the most votes … Another asset is that it means that the winning candidate is supported by a majority, not a simple plurality. Instead of people elected to office with less than 50 percent support, IRV guarantees true majority rule … Using bullet voting (voting for one candidate in a multi-seat race) under current rules, a group of voters can tilt the odds toward their candidate and skew what the majority really wants. IRV makes that strategy futile. People vote their several favorites, and then if their first choice doesn’t get enough votes, their vote swings to their second choice, or their third choice, etc. … It also does away with the spoiler effect in a winner-take-all system. You can vote for someone you really like but doesn’t have much of a chance, and then list the more likely winner that you favor as your second choice. That way, your vote for the unlikely winner isn’t lost, it goes to the second candidate you prefer, if your first vote doesn’t come up with enough votes to get a majority … Thanks to the tireless work of Rep. John Kefalas (D-Fort Collins), Colorado has adopted a pilot IRV program that allows communities to use IRV. So it’s an election reform that we will be seeing more of in this state. Kefalas headed up a task force that reviewed numerous election reforms, and IRV was the one that floated to the top of the pile after a year of meetings and review … IRV is also used for statewide judicial vacancies in the red state of North Carolina, and N.C. just approved a pilot program to allow cities to experiment with IRV, as Colorado has done. Cary, N.C. already took up that offer and had a very successful IRV election … IRV is used for overseas and military ballots in Arkansas, South Carolina and Louisiana … In a recent op-ed column, Tad Daley, J.D., Ph.D., Writing Fellow, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Nobel Peace Laureate, explained why IRV could revitalize democracy in Los Angeles and more especially in Los Angeles County, And for more info on IRV, go to … Kudos to Chris Myers, Ernest Eich and This Republic Can for suggesting this valuable change. I’m really excited that Telluride is getting out ahead of the pack in election reform and is considering adopting IRV in its municipal elections.

BANNER POLES … Kudos to Norwood for installing its own municipal poles to hoist banners over main street. I’ve asked for that for years in Telluride, but they continue to use banner attachments on private buildings rather than putting up their own poles on public property, so that access doesn’t require inconveniencing private parties and allows for a pulley system for lowering and raising banners, instead of dangerous ladders … Nice to see Norwood taking the county lead on public street banner access.

LITTLE CONE … For 25 years I’ve gazed out on the Little Cone peak from my Cloud Acre home, but I’ve never had a chance to climb it. So, with a couple Norwood friends and a gaggle of children, a few weeks ago we went searching on the Beaver Park road for access that would let us attempt a climb. Not so easy … I had a map, that great recreational guide to the county’s foot trails from the San Miguel Watershed Coalition. However, in mapping the Little Cone area, it showed a solid black line, what appeared to be a county road, going through private land to access the public sections of Little Cone. Trouble is, it’s not a public road. It’s a private driveway. And so the only access to this mother mountain cinder plug peak is on foot from the Hughes Ditch, and then straight up the mountain – a steep but perfectly walkable hike … As we had gotten a late start, and had a clutch of kids with us, ages 13 to 9, a waning-light quick-climb up a steep mountainside was not too appealing, so we settled for a delightful stroll along the forest irrigation canal access road, the youngsters crisscrossing the limpid, fast-running water (just too wide to leap) by teetering over fallen logs in single, oldest-to-youngest file … As summer fades to fall, Little Cone’s peak is still a dream in my eye.

BUMPER CROP … My latest favs … Jesus was a Community Organizer. Pontius Pilate was a Governor … Can We Impeach for a Blown Job? … My Golden Retriever Is Smarter Than Your President … Is Lying the Country into War a High Crime or a Misdemeanor?

© 2008 Art Goodtimes



-for Rosemerry & Eric

There’s a certain light in September.

It makes your hair flame

like a golden crown

and your eyes glow like promise.

One bite is molten.

Two is a choir.

Three is carnal.

Hand and hand we amble

toward the gnarled orchard

where fruits of our love took seed.

Rooted. Blossomed.

Swapped pollen for the future.

Bit into Eden’s gifts.

Burrowed in to the core.

-Suzanne Cheavens

Lawson Hill

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