July 18, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Brentwood Resident David Holtzman Pushes Instant Runoff Elections

David Holtzman
Q: So, David, what’s a guy doing heading up the League of Women Voters?

A: Men have been full members of the national League of Women Voters since 1974. Guys like saying “national League†because it sounds like a baseball thing. But really, I joined the Los Angeles chapter to talk up instant runoff, ranked-choice voting elections as a worthwhile upgrade for local politics. I gave presentations to League “Units†all around the chapter’s service area. Around the same time I found out that my grandmother had been a suffragist, a campaigner for women’s right to vote. The local League decided to advocate instant runoff voting, asked me to join its board, and later elected me President. League people must have liked me.

Q: For those who don’t know, what does the League do, exactly? Why is this important?

A: The League encourages informed participation in government; it studies and works to increase understanding of major issues; after study, it takes positions on issues (but not on candidates or political parties); and it sometimes influences public policy. People know us for registering voters; for holding candidate forums; for publishing non-partisan information about candidates and ballot measures (see SmartVoter.org); and for presenting informational events for the public. But we also lobby for policies in accord with our carefully-developed positions, and we lobby against policies that conflict with our positions.

From studies to education to lobbying, the League’s work is important because it promotes rational, principled policy-making.

Q: What’s the League’s position on all the elections we have? Would fewer elections mean better turnout?

A: The League has no position on the frequency of elections, but many L.A. League people would like to have our local elections synchronized with the state and federal elections on “Election Day†in November of even-numbered years. Riding that day’s regular big turnout wave would certainly increase local elections’ turnout.

Switching to instant runoffs, by the way, would cut the number of city election days in half. On ranked-choice ballots (first choice, second choice, third choice, etc.), voters would indicate in advance who they would like to vote for if their top choices are eliminated before a runoff. So there would be no need for separate runoff balloting. (When no candidate has won a majority yet, one candidate — the one in last place — would be eliminated at a time, until a candidate does get a majority of the votes for candidates still in the election.)

Instant runoff voting would make our elections fairer, let voters more freely express their preferences, and save time and money for voters and taxpayers. It might increase interest in elections, but we can’t say for sure if it would increase turnout.

Q: If someone wants to join the League, what should that person do?

A: In a web browser, go to bit.ly/joinLWVLA (CAPS required).

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: Probably! See our website, lwvlosangeles.org. Oh! Our Westside Evening Unit meets monthly in Brentwood!

in News
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