Burlington, VT vorting on whether or not to readopt RCV in March!

Looks like an op ed for the Burlington, VT newspaper would be well timed. It’s looking like they’ll be voting to readopt RCV for their City Council in a couple weeks! https://news.ballotpedia.org/2021/02/09/burlington-vermont-voters-will-decide-on-march-[…]R1SxCzoZluHNw0DfyrteMLcROjUPm_EjZR7f2h2vswPC9VDyj9mAD9RuZA

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The proposal is for winner-take all elections for Council seats.

I argue that RCV used in winner-take-all elections is a siren song that distracts from solutions that would implement democratic representation. It may be OK for a PR scheme, but that is not what is being proposed here.

One place to write on this is a publication called VTDigger, given that they post an opinion piece or letter in favor of the measure, and said piece comes up on Google. VTDigger’s info about writing to the editor is here.

The following draft is 284 words, and I need to get it down to 250. Any ideas?

Draft:

It is such a shame that the activists who drafted Question
4 have presented Burlington with such a poor choice. Why
is it that so often when the voters of a locality are asked
to consider their voting systems, the only options listed
are choose-one plurality voting in a winner-take-all system
vs. Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) (now deceptively rebranded
as Ranked-choice Voting) in another winner-take-all system?
When I distinguish between good and poor here, I am
assuming that Burlingtonians need democratic representation
rather than oligarchy. I feel that that is what all of
the people of the US need.

If readers want peoples’ representation, they should be
aware that study by scholars and by some activists who
have looked at these questions for a while, reveal some
options that adhere better to their advertised benefits
than winner-take-all IRV does.

Since what is at stake in Question 4 is seating of
legislators, it would have been possible to propose
Proportional Representation (PR) in place of the
winner-take-all systems. Readers can see the definition
of Proportional Representation on the Wikipedia website
for example. Books printed on dead trees are no doubt
also available that address theories of social choice.
PR is in use all over Europe and in many other countries.
PR provides representation in the legislature of different
strains of thought, whereas its opposite, winner-take-all,
allows for a plurality faction to monopolize the
legislative debate.

I suppose that given Question 4 as it is, Burlingtonians
will do slightly better if they approve it, given the
horror of the alternative. However, please don’t expect
winner-take-all IRV to live up fully to the promises made
for it, and do organize to identify and promote a real
solution.

: end of “draft”.

The pub constrains the length of letters to the editor. However, on the page of the opinion piece itself, they give an “opinion” e-mail addy and they don’t mention such a length constraint. So I sent all the above “draft” to that address. So, it isn’t a draft anymore, it is my opinion as I expressed it toward that publication. Maybe SMTP will work and will deliver it to them. Who knows? Today, we just talk into the void.

I had a quick go at it although I could probably do more.

It is a shame that the activists who drafted Question
4 have presented Burlington with such a poor choice. Why
is it that so often that the only alternative to our current
choose-one plurality voting system that voters are allowed to
consider is Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) (now deceptively rebranded
as Ranked-choice Voting), another winner-take-all system?

Since what is at stake in Question 4 is seating of
legislators, it would have been possible to propose
Proportional Representation (PR) in place of the
winner-take-all systems. PR is in use all over Europe and
elsewhere. PR provides representation in the legislature of different
strains of thought, whereas its opposite, winner-take-all,
allows for a plurality faction to monopolize the
legislative debate.

I suppose that given Question 4 as it is, Burlingtonians
be slightly better off if they approve it, given the
horror of the alternative. However, please don’t expect
winner-take-all IRV to live up fully to the promises made
for it, and do organize to identify and promote a real
solution.

My comments:
At a quick glance I’d say you need to get to the point more quickly. Don’t spend a lot of time talking about how IRV is bad compared to many other alternatives without bringing up the alternatives as quickly as possible. Otherwise people will read it and think “what is this about?”

If you want to say that winner-take-all systems promote oligarchy in a letter to the editor you need to justify that claim. Remember your audience!!! They will not be familiar with things that you have previously said about this.

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Why?? This is so frustrating. IRV’s problems have been understood since before we were born. Why do people not listen? Why do they not research? Burlington is the textbook example of why IRV is a bad idea, and they’re just going to try exactly the same thing again? Have they already forgotten about their own election?

Edit:

Whenever I talk to people about this, it’s very difficult to get them to understand. I feel like I must not be a good communicator to non-nerd people. Has anyone written like a form letter that debunks IRV claims in a way that’s easy for laymen to understand?