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Monday, April 27, 2009

Instant Runoff Voting Case Heads to Minnesota Supreme Court

Instant Runoff Voting violates voters' civil rights, according to a press release issued by the Minnesota Voters Alliance. If this ultimately goes to the US Supreme Court, it may help states like North Carolina where outside big money is pushing instant runoff hard and heavy.

The Minnesota Voters Alliance is a non partisan group who has been fighting IRV on the basis that it violates the US Constitution. At issue - IRV can cause you to harm your preferred candidate, thus impeding voters "right to association" guaranteed by the US Constitution. The group also points out that instant runoff voting violates their state constitution. Minnesota's constitution guarantees "one person one vote" . IRV gives voters the option of three votes per contest when used in the US. This results in some peoples' ballots having more impact than others. Unfortunately, in our state of North Carolina, the state constitution does not guarantee one person one vote. Ironically, groups claiming to promote "one person, one vote" are doing a hard sell of IRV. With instant runoff, not all votes will be counted or will count. So the claims that IRV makes your vote really count are ludicrous. IRV has been experimented with in North Carolina, but in the pilots, officials were not required to count or report all votes, and in the case of Hendersonville North Carolina, many voters were not aware they were voting in an instant runoff election.

Instant Runoff Voting Case Goes to the Minnesota Supreme Court

ST. PAUL, Minn., April 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Minnesota Voters Alliance case against the City of Minneapolis to prevent implementation of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is headed for the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 13th. The Alliance filed an appeal of a lower court decision in January. The City filed for expedited appeal to the Supreme Court.
The voting rights affected by IRV and being fought over have national significance.
The initial ruling from Hennepin County District Court concerning the constitutionality of IRV was full of factual misconceptions and faulty legal arguments.

The court failed to grasp the concept embodied in State Supreme Court precedent that when a voter votes for the candidate of his choice, his vote must be counted as one, and it cannot be defeated or its effect lessened, except by the vote of another elector voting for one other candidate. IRV violates this fundamental principle.

Even though IRV fails to count all ballots equally and places voters in the position of not knowing whether their first choice vote will help or hurt their favorite candidate, the district somehow found that not to conflict with basic notions of constitutional principles.

IRV can force voters to either dilute the strength of their ballot by not ranking all the candidates, or to rank candidates they do not prefer at all. Thus, the voter must either violate his own equal protection rights, because other ballots would carry more weight, or violate his own association rights, by having to vote for a candidate he or she opposes.

We believe the Supreme Court will overturn the district's ruling and uphold the principle of one person, one vote!

From attorney, Erick Kaardal, "We hope all citizens, opposed and for IRV, pay close attention to the case. It is the most important case for our democracy in over 90 years."
The IRV case could easily end up in the U. S. Supreme Court because of the unique issues and arguments presented under the Minnesota and United States Constitutions. This case could lead they way to protect the rights of all voters, especially those who do not want to freely give them up.

We need your help to cover legal fees! Please consider a contribution to: Minnesota Voters Alliance, P.O. Box 4602, St. Paul MN 55104, or online at using secure PayPal.
SOURCE Minnesota Voters Alliance