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Instant Runoff Voting Would Help Ailing System

November 30, 2002

George Skelton is wrong in his Nov. 25 column, "Only Fed-Up Voters Can Fix State's Damaged System for Picking Legislators." He suggests having open, nonpartisan primaries, but this wouldn't improve anything, especially because it would limit the general election to only two candidates, among other things.

Instant runoff voting might help. Under this system, votes are cast for the candidates in order of preference. So, if your first choice is the Libertarian candidate, you mark him or her as first choice. Mark your second choice accordingly and the same with the rest. If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and his or her votes are distributed to the remaining candidates according to the next choice on those ballots. The winner is the candidate with the highest preference by a majority of the voters.

This system would allow more participation in elections for voters of all political ideologies. It makes much more sense than meddling in the political parties' internal affairs using open primaries or limiting the choice in the general election to two candidates. Find out more about instant runoff voting at www.fairvote.org.

Fred Mangels

Eureka

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Those who excuse their not voting give a variety of reasons, such as: All politicians are a bunch of crooks; there's no difference between the parties; we need a new centrist party because both parties are dominated by their particular radical extremists; one vote isn't going to matter anyway. Unfortunately, there is a little merit to each of these excuses, but not enough to constitute a valid excuse for not fulfilling your patriotic duty to vote.

Not all politicians are crooks. The parties are very different. While they both support capitalism, they differ substantially in the amount of control they believe necessary for it to work properly. Having more than two parties creates more problems than it solves. Look where it has been tried. You also miss the chance to vote a favorite and miss canceling an opposing vote. The truth is, those who give the above-mentioned reasons for nonvoting are as uninformed as they are delinquent.

Mac Jolly

Mission Viejo

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