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Who won the Primary Election?

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We have completed the 2010 Primary Election, but there is still some doubt as to who won. This problem is caused by our current method of determining the winner of an election. In Pennsylvania, we now use a plurality system for deciding who wins.

This means a candidate may be able to win an election without earning the vote of at least a majority of the voters. For example, in the Primary Election for a Democratic Party candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, there were four candidates. On May 18, one candidate was declared "the winner" with only forty-five percent of the votes. A majority of the voters cast their ballot against "the winner."

In many other countries, including Australian and Ireland, this never could have happened because their "winners" must have at least fifty percent of the vote. Those countries use a system called Instant Runoff Voting, in which each voter ranks their top three candidates for each elected position. If none of the candidates earns a majority (50%) in the first round, the candidate with the least votes is removed from the ballot and their votes are awarded to the candidate chosen as second by the individual voter.

This process continues until a candidate has earned a majority of votes.

Perhaps we should look at another election, which just concluded with even more disastrous results. the Primary Election for a Democratic Party candidate in State House Seat 194, which includes Roxborough, Manayunk, Wynnefield Heights, West Parkside and parts of Wynnefield and East Falls in Philadelphia, and Lower Merion, Belmont Hills, Bala Cynwyd, Merion and part of Merion Station in Montgomery County.

In this primary, which had five candidates, a winner was declared with only thirty-three percent one third -- of the votes. This raises a serious problem because two thirds of the voters desired a candidate other than the declared winner.

In addition, the winner in House District 194, a working- and middle-class community, is a business owner, CEO and consultant. The four candidates who garnered two thirds of the votes were all middle class, and three of them had labor union backgrounds. There is definitely something wrong with a system that allows two thirds of the voters to cast their ballots for representatives of the working class, but then awards the victory to a business consultant who won only one third of the votes.

In the General Election on Tuesday, November 2, voters in House District 194 will again have a choice. The Democratic Party candidate business owner, CEO, and consultant will have to face an organizer for United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 152. Hugh Giordano, born and raised in District 194, will be the Green Party candidate in that election, and Giordano represents a party which stands historically for Instant Runoff Voting, a type of election which selects winners with at least fifty percent of the vote.

Giordano said, "Two thirds of the Primary Election voters followed their basic instinct and cast their ballot for a candidate who would have worked in their interest. I hope that those voters will continue to follow their class consciousness and vote for Hugh Giordano in the General Election. I promise to never take money from corporations, and I will work diligently every day in Harrisburg to ensure that workers get a fair deal."


Chris Robinson is a graduate of Central High School (#219) in Philadelphia, PA. He lives in Germantown and is an at-large member of the Green Party of Philadelphia (www.gpop.org) City Committee. Chris Robinson is also a member of United Food and (more...)

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