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Is Instant Runoff Voting Hurting Minorities in Takoma Park Maryland?

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Message Joyce McCloy

Ground Zero for IRV is also "Ground Zero" for minority representation in government. Zero meaning zilch, nada nothing. Last week we showed you how an Instant Runoff Voting experiment in North Carolina led to some "touchscreen tricks" that put our votes at risk. This week we address how IRV affects minorities. The latest mantra/talking point is that Instant Runoff Voting helps minorities. A July 24 news article shows that this is not true, at least not in the home town of the Fair Vote Director, Rob Richie. The "IRV helps minorities" claim was used on the North Carolina State Legislature last month, and I believe it worked, even though it was challenged by Representative Angela Bryant. Yes, "the truth is out there", right there in Fair Votes' own back yard. It turns out that Fair Vote Director Rob Richie's home town of Takoma Park Maryland, the home base for IRV, has Zero (0) zilch NADA minority representation. And voter turnout flat out sucks. A July 24 news article compares minority representation in the governments of 3 Maryland towns. Takoma Park is the loser.

Greenbelt mulls changes to its voting system Thursday July 24, 2008

Takoma Park and College Park both have district systems, but each still has majority white councils. College Park has two women, one of whom is African-American but Takoma Park, in Montgomery County, has no minority representative...

"Takoma Park is 34 percent African-American.." yet "....Takoma Park, in Montgomery County, has no minority representative. " Turnout in Takoma Park? "Of the 17,299 total city population, only 1,010 people voted in the last City Council election."

Doesn't this sound like San Francisco in 2007? Low turnout, stale stagnant politics with no real competition for the mayoral contest, one candidate for DA, and 2 candidates for Sheriff? Incumbent protection.

....Takoma Park is divided into six voting districts. There are six council members and one mayor. All of its elected officials are white. Takoma Park City Manager Barbara Burns Matthews admitted the council was not representative of the community according to census data, especially since the city has a large immigrant population. One of the problems, Matthews said, is lack of contention. In the last election, only one district had multiple delegates running. The others only had one name on the ballot.

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Editor of the Voting News. The Voting News is a free national newsletter about election integrity issues, voting machines, election fraud, voter access and legislation in United States and international news.

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