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Instant Runoff Voting

March 04, 2001

* The news that 19 candidates filed to be on the special election ballot to fill the 32nd District seat vacated by the passing of Rep. Julian Dixon (Feb. 27) makes it clear that people who live there will have no representation until the June runoff election. This crowded field presents a good argument in favor of AB 1515, introduced by Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg. It will provide for instant runoff voting to fill future vacancies.

Instant runoff voting allows each voter to enumerate his or her favorite candidates, 1-2-3. If no candidate gets 50%, the candidates with the fewest votes are eliminated and those ballots are assigned to each voter's next choice. This eliminates the "spoiler" phenomenon and assures that the winner will have majority support. Instant runoff voting would save California taxpayers the expense of runoff elections.

Given the crowded ballot in the mayoral election and City Council races, perhaps Los Angeles should consider adopting instant runoff voting for municipal elections.

CASEY PETERS

Los Angeles

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