The Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP, www.gpop.org) has issued a call for a reform of the voting procedures used in Pennsylvania. At the present time, a candidate for office is able to declare victory and take office without earning the support of a majority of the voters.
The problem with the present voting system became evident in the Democratic Party primary election held on May 20. There were several electoral contests in which a victor was declared even though a majority of voters cast their ballots for other candidates.
“The Pennsylvania system is unjust,” said Glenn Davis, a chair of the Green Party City Committee from Hestonville in West Philadelphia. “We call this a representative democracy, but we insult that name with every ballot cast.”
“During the May primary,” explained Chris Robinson, member of the GPOP City Committee from Germantown, “the most influential contest in which democracy was flaunted was the state-wide primary to choose a Democratic Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor.” Mike Stack was declared the winner, even though he earned only 47 percent of the vote. A total of 394,325 Democrats (53 percent) voted against Stack and in favour of one his four opponents. Robinson continued, “This clear example demonstrates that our failing electoral system allows a candidate to advance without the support of a majority of the electorate.”
The political platform of the Green Party of the U.S. says, “We believe in majority rule and reject the present method of election without a majority. Accordingly, we call for the use of instant runoff voting . . . to guarantee that the winner has majority support and that voters are not relegated to choosing between the lesser of two evils.”
A more egregious example was the declaration of Brendan Boyle as the winner of the Democratic Party’s primary for District 13 of the U.S. House of Representatives. Boyle earned only 41 percent of the vote, while 35,871 Democrats (59 percent) voted against Boyle and in favour of one his three opponents.
There were similar problems with the primaries for PA State House of Representatives. Karen Chellew was declared the victor in District 145 with only 43 percent of the voters on her side. Leslie Acosta was declared the victor in District 197 with only 49 percent of the voters in her corner.
Perhaps the most outrageous scorning of democracy took place in the Democratic Party’s primary for PA Senate District 4. In that contest, Art Haywood has been called the victor with only 40 percent of the vote. A total of 24,030 Democrats (60 percent) voted against Haywood and in favour of the other two candidates.
Davis said, “There will be additional problems in the General Election when the participation of smaller parties – without a runoff – might allow a candidate with a very low voter acceptance to take office. The Green Party is actively seeking a change in these foolish voting procedures.”
The Green Party is an independent political party based upon grassroots democracy, social justice, nonviolence and ecological wisdom. For more information about the Green Party, please contact 215-243-7103 and firstname.lastname@example.org.