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Despite controversy, Kearan Pushes "Instant Runoff" Voting for Mississippi
Bobby Kearan, the Reform Party candidate for Governor of Mississippi, wants to give voters a stronger voice in state elections. To accomplish this, he supports a modified "Ranked Choice" voting system.
Mr. Kearan is aware of the feeling of hopelessness a voter can feel when they are trying to decide how to vote. They may like the policies of a lesser known candidate, but strongly oppose one of the major candidates, so must decide whether to vote for who they want or vote for someone who they believe stands a better chance of defeating someone they really do not want to win.
From the instantrunoff.com website, "Instant runoff voting (IRV) is a ranked choice voting system for single-winner elections that simulates a majority runoff in one round of voting. Also called ranked choice voting and preferential voting, IRV avoids the undemocratic outcomes of plurality voting when so-called "spoilers" split the majority vote. By allowing voters to rank candidates in order of preference, IRV enables voters to vote their hopes instead of their fears, upholds the principle of majority rule and avoids the expenses and campaign spending associated with two rounds of voting."
Opponents of IRV, such as the website instantrunoffvoting.us, cite increased up-front costs of changing voting systems and claim it further entrenches the two-party system. They also claim the major supporting website for the idea, FairVote.org, has ulterior motives.
Mr. Kearan believes that the objections are just a smokescreen to continue suppression of voter will. "People are afraid to vote for who they really want to see win, those who have ideas and ideals that they can believe in, because they feel the need to vote for established party members who they are told have a better chance to defeat 'the opponent' that can not be allowed to win," Kearan says.
In a theoretical evaluation of the Mississippi Democratic race, Mr. Kearan proposed the following scenario for IRV voting.
The actual results were :
Johnny DuPree 166,103 - 43 percent
Bill Luckett 152,270 - 40 percent
William Compton 38,255 - 10 percent
Guy Shaw 28,852 - 7 percent
If we had IRV in place, more voters would have felt comfortable voting for Guy Shaw first and many True Blood fans would have cast a vote for Bill Compton as their first choice. So, initial results would have looked more like :
Johnny DuPree - 33 percent
Bill Luckett - 30 percent
William Compton - 20 percent
Guy Shaw - 17 percent
Mr. Shaw would have been the first to drop off the contest. His voters would then get their second choices counted and the result would look like :
Johnny DuPree - 43 percent
Bill Luckett - 32 percent
William Compton - 25 percent
Nobody has 50% + 1 as of yet, so Mr. Compton drops out the consideration. His voters have their second (or third) choice counted and the results become :
Johnny DuPree - 52 percent
Bill Luckett - 46 percent
No second or third vote ranked - 2 percent
Mr. DuPree wins with a Majority of votes without having to go to a runoff whose results will not be finalized until just over a month before the General Election. Also, the people who voted for Shaw and Compton do not feel as though they wasted their vote because they also got to vote between DuPree and Luckett - with only one trip to the polls.
The one modification that Mr. Kearan would like to consider would be to add a "No Confidence" line item to every ballot. If "No Confidence" received a majority of votes, all candidates would be rejected and the parties would have to go back and present stronger candidates that people would vote for.
For more ideas and stances or to ask questions and leave comments, visit Bobby Kearan's campaign website, which is located at the URL : http://bobbykearan.com/