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California State Government March 5, 2002 Election
Smart Voter

Stop Spoling Elections - Use runoffs at state level

By Peter Miguel Camejo

Candidate for Governor; State of California; Green Party

This information is provided by the candidate
An open letter to the California legislature calling upon them to use Instant Runoff Voting for statewide elections.
Open Letter from Peter Miguel Camejo, Green Party candidate for Governor of California, to all members of the California State Legislature:

I call upon all of us who respect and honor democracy to work together to make sure that the will of the people is respected in our elections.

The race for Governor of California in 2002 might be very close, and, with a strong Green candidate running, it is likely that charges of "spoiler" will appear. Fortunately, there is an easy solution # runoffs! We ask Democrats and Republicans to stop spoiling elections by refusing to allow runoffs.

We should not allow a candidate who is opposed by the majority of the people to take office, nor should we tell the public that they do not have the right to vote for the person who best represents their views. Instead, we should adopt a system of elections, known as runoffs, used throughout the world, and by cities and counties throughout California.

When we use runoffs, people first get to choose their first choice candidate. If no candidate gets over 50% of the vote, then voters get to apply their vote to their second choice.

The basic principles of democracy require that we use runoffs. Otherwise, the principle of majority rule is violated. If four candidates run for an office, and there are no runoffs, then someone who got 26% could win, even though 74% of the voters oppose them!

Most every nation holds runoffs to protect its citizen's rights. By using Instant Runoff Voting, a system used in public elections in the U.S. and elsewhere for over 100 years, we can conduct the runoff without the added expense of a second election. Voters simply rank candidates 1, 2, 3, and if no candidate receives an outright majority, the rankings are used to conduct the runoff instantly. Modern technology can do this quickly and cheaply.

Members of both major parties violated our constitution for over 90 years by taking actions to deny many people of color the right to vote. This violation of our democracy lingers to this day, when African Americans in Florida were unjustly removed from voting rolls or asked to show 3 pieces of identification.

As legislators you carry a burden of responsibility to keep our elections free, fair and open to all contenders. You have the power to enact Instant-Runoff voting and eliminate any possibility of "spoiling." If you do not, it is you, and not any third party candidates, who have spoiled the elections.

The effort to provide real democracy in this nation is not yet complete. It is time to take the next step, to make sure that every vote counts, that every voter is free to vote their conscience, and that the will of the electorate is honored.


Peter Miguel Camejo

P.S. For more information about the details of Instant Runoff voting, and how to implement it, visit

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