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California Bill to Use Instant Runoff in Special Legislative & Congressional Elections Passes Committee

Published on April 21, 2010, by in General.

On April 20, the California Senate Elections Committee passed SB 1346 by a vote of 3-2. This bill provides for Instant Runoff Voting for special elections for U.S. House and state legislature, if all the counties in that district agree.

2 Responses

  1. Demo Rep

    IRV = THE method to elect Stalin/Hitler clones.

    IRV ignores most of the data in a Place Votes Table — i.e. ALL later (2nd, 3rd, etc.) choice votes do NOT have EQUAL treatment.

    EQUAL — see the EQUAL Protection Clause in 14th Amdt, Sec. 1 in the nearly dead U.S.A. Constitution.

  2. Jim Riley

    SB 1346 requires further delay in conventional special elections.

    Under current law, the governor is required to to issue his proclamation within 14 days of the vacancy. The special general election must be with 112-126 days of the date of the proclamation, except this can be extended to 180 days to make the election coincide with the next regularly scheduled election (primary or general election).

    After the date of the general election is set, the primary is set to be 8 weeks earlier, and filing deadlines before those.

    Under SB 1346, county supervisors are given 30 days to cogitate on whether or not IRV is to be used. If they decide not to use IRV, then the governor has 5 days to issue the proclamation for the special election. Since the dates for the election are determined based on the date of proclamation, this will result in a 3-week delay in the special election, and perhaps even longer if it delays the proclamation to within 180 days of a special election.

    Meanwhile if the county supervisors decide to use IRV, the election is set 72-86 days from the date of the proclamation, and the extension is limited to 120 days. In effect, an IRV election may appear to work faster because its backers were pouring sand onto the regular train track.

    In any case, letting supervisors decide whether or not to use IRV after the vacancy occurs lets them manipulate both the method and timing of the special election.

    If IRV is to be discretionary, then the decision should be made in advance. County supervisors should determine whether IRV is to be used for all future special elections or none. They may change their minds, once every two years (following the general election).

    The schedule for all special elections should be tightened. The special general election should be within 84 days of the vacancy, the special primary 28 days earlier, and the filing deadline 28 days earlier.

    If IRV is used, the special general election should be within 56 days of the vacancy, with the filing deadline 28 days earlier.

    A special general may be delayed 28 days to coincide with a regular election.

    SB 1346 permits use of 3-column IRV. In 10 of the last 16 special elections in California, at least one of the parties has had more than 3 candidates on the ballot. This is especially prevalent for congressional primaries where 6 of 7 have had more than 3 candidates from one party. In 3 elections, for CD 37, CD 50, and CD 48, one party has had 11, 14, and 10 candidates respectively.

    A partisan voter who might prefer all of his party’s candidates to any of the opposition may have his ballot discarded as “exhausted” when in fact it was due to system incapacity.

    Whenever a ballot is exhausted due to its incapacity to fully record a voter’s preferences, it should be taken into account when determining whether additional candidates can be eliminated. If not, a runoff should be held with all continuing candidates.

    SB 1346 violates the current requirement in the California Constitution that partisan elections have a partisan primary. If Proposition 14 is approved in June, then legislative and congressional elections will no longer be partisan elections, and use of IRV would be constitutional. If Proposition 14 is not approved, then SB 1346 violated the constitution.

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