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Candy Saves Democracy

by Paul Fidalgo // Published August 3, 2009
What's the best way to help explain the mechanics of sometimes-abstract voting reforms?

Obviously, you give out candy.

That's what FairVote Minnesota's Jeanne Massey did to spell out the workings of ranked choice voting (better known as instant runoff voting around these parts).

Frank Braun, an 81-year-old veteran election judge, said he wanted to understand what he'd probably have to explain to voters in November. . . . "I still want to be a part of it," Braun said. "I want to be a part of a new experience."

The free candy didn't hurt, either, he said while watching Snickers bars get strewn along his table.

"Now we're getting some payola," he said.

Then everyone ranked their favorite candies, and the idea behind ranking one's preferred candidates became quite clear.

Now, don't you think that all major reform initiatives and systemic improvements could be accompanied by the distribution of candy bars? The fuel for a better democracy may be high fructose corn syrup.