Document:California Press Release 21 February 2001 Libertarians Champion Alternative Voting System

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14547 Titus Street, Suite 214
Panorama City, CA 91402
For immediate release: February 21, 2001
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 782-8400

Libertarians champion alternative voting system to 'prevent more Floridas'

PANORAMA CITY -- The Libertarian Party of California has officially endorsed an innovative voting system that would prevent candidates from winning elections without a majority of the votes cast, increase choice for voters, and save taxpayers money -- providing a much-needed dramatic boost to the democratic process, the party announced today.

"We must prevent situations like the one in Florida last year from ever happening again," declared California Libertarian executive director Juan Ros. "Americans need fundamental voting reform, and Libertarians have found the perfect solution."

Under the proposed reform, known as Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), voters rank candidates in their order of preference. If a candidate receives a majority vote, that candidate is declared the winner.

But if no candidate receives a majority of the first-choice votes cast, the candidate with the lowest vote total is eliminated and that candidate's votes are transferred to the next-choice candidate listed on each ballot -- in effect, holding a runoff without the need for additional balloting. The process repeats until one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast.

This week at its annual state convention, the Libertarian Party of California adapted the use of IRV for internal party elections and endorsed a resolution calling for IRV in all single-seat elections for public office.

"The benefits of IRV are astounding," Ros noted. "IRV is a more truly democratic method of voting than our present system because no candidate can be elected without receiving a majority of the vote. IRV eliminates the problem of multiple candidates splitting the vote, throwing elections to less popular 'spoiler' candidates. And IRV would make special runoff elections unnecessary, saving taxpayers time and money while making campaigns less expensive for candidates."

But Libertarians admit to an ulterior motive. "Most important for us, IRV will eradicate the perception that voting for a third party is a 'wasted' vote, since voters can cast their first choice for a third party and if that candidate is eliminated their vote would go to their second choice candidate," Ros pointed out. "That's why Libertarians will be working closely with members of other third parties to aggressively promote the use of IRV."

Concluded Ros, "Our 18th century voting system is on life support. Libertarians want to pull the plug and bring elections into the 21st century with Instant Runoff Voting."