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Cruz Bay
Thursday, September 28, 2023


Dear Source,
This is in response to Gaylord Sprauve's excellent article on the downside of plurality voting (See In Numbered Seats Plan, Plurality Would Prevail in Op-Ed section.) He is correct in his note that the problems that we currently have with at-large plurality voting are reason enough for change, but it is not correct that run-off elections need to be held to determine a majority of votes for any given candidate running for a numbered seat.
There are more and more jurisdictions in the United States that are using the auto-run-off system. Under this system voters can place preference numbers on the ballot. It is a simple process by which a voter may mark her first, second and third choices. Essentially she is saying, "I want to vote for candidate 'C' but if candidate 'C' does not get a plurality of votes then I would like to vote for candidate 'A' and if candidate 'A' does not achieve a plurality then I would like to vote for candidate 'E'". The results then clearly show which of the candidates is preferred by a majority of the voters.
It is a simple and inexpensive system that avoids the problems of plurality voting, without the high cost and low turnout of election run-offs, while we advance to the point where we have districting and a truly representative government.
Ron Sherwood
St. Thomas

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