Measure 90: Wrong answer for wrong problemRon Eachus 1:06 p.m. PDT October 13, 2014. . .
In the past, I've written columns supporting the concept of what amounts to an "instant run-off" approach to our primary and general elections. To simplify the explanation, it is a system in which voters can select their top choice and then select a second choice, or a third or fourth even. If no one gets a majority of first-choice votes, the last-place candidate is eliminated and ballots of that candidate are transferred to the second choice designated on each ballot. Elimination and transfer continue until only one candidate remains or has 50 percent.It's a system used in other developed countries and some local governments in the U.S. It means the winner is likely to be the candidate with the broadest base of support.Measure 90 still leaves us with a winner-take-all plurality system. In some cases, it eliminates the choices available to voters. So we still face the same problem. A candidate can appeal to a narrow band of dedicated voters and win with a minority of the vote because those who oppose that candidate split their votes between two or more of the remaining candidates.And if you're hoping to advance the cause of third parties, you are relegated to the "fusion" strategy of being a secondary endorser of major party candidates, as is already happening on this year's ballot in Oregon. I believe third parties are best-served when they have their own candidates representing their party and are able to articulate that party's views.More than a decade ago, I posited: "Imagine voting for the candidate you prefer but also getting a second choice. And imagine that your vote for a second choice might actually count. Imagine feeling free to vote for your favorite candidate instead of worrying if you're wasting your vote or voting for the lesser of two evils."I might add to that: Imagine that the candidate who wins is actually the one with the broadest base of support representing the preference of the most voters. . . .