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Slamdunk win in Minnesota Supreme Court highlights big week for instant runoff voting

by Rob Richie // Published June 12, 2009
The Minnesota Supreme Court on June 11 in a 30-page opinion unanimously rejected legal arguments against Minneapolis's elections moving forward this November with instant runoff voting for mayor and city council and with choice voting for  park board. FairVote Minnesota, an intervenor in the case,  reacted with a statement that the Court has "blazed a path that every community in our state can follow toward better elections and a stronger democracy." IRV -- locally now called ranked choice voting -- has gained growing support around the state, including in Saint Paul and Duluth.

In California, top political leaders  in San Jose on June 11th participated in the New America Foundation's forum on adopting IRV. The San Jose Mercury News covered the forum with a news story, and the New America Foundation issued a report on the case for IRV in the city. The New America Foundation's Gautam Dutta also joined with Torrance's state assemblyman Ted Lieu in a Daily Breeze commentary advocating IRV for Torrance elections.

In New Jersey, as covered in the Hudson Reporter, the city council in Hoboken this month passed a pro-IRV measure that "it fully supports Senate Joint Resolution No. 43, sponsored by Senator Bill Baroni of District 14, creating a commission to study instant runoff voting and the implications of IRV within the State of New Jersey and to encourage the commission to act promptly so that the City can introduce a referendum for voter consideration establishing IRV during the next general election on November 3, 2009."

In Washington State, three political scientists issued a new report analyzing the November 2008 IRV elections in Pierce County (WA). It found that IRV "does an effective job of simulating both a primary and general in one election," while making it less costly to run -  only three of the six biggest spenders won. The Tacoma News Tribune's long-time columnist Peter Callaghan covered release of the report.

Finally, British interest in instant runoff voting and other methods of ranked voting, as reported on in my recent blogpost, soared again this week when prime minister Gordon Brown signaled his potential support of IRV (termed "the alternative vote" in the United Kingdom) and formed a task force to make a recommendation on changing the country's U.S.-style plurality voting system. Brown's actions were covered extensively, including the Guardian and the Financial Times.