Campaign 2002: Making Second-Place Votes Count

Ralph Nader still hasn't lived down the charge that his third-party candidacy in 2000 swung the election to George W. Bush. It's the perennial problem for third-party candidates: too often they serve merely as spoilers, siphoning votes from candidates their supporters might otherwise back. But a little-noticed proposition approved last month by San Francisco voters offers a glimpse of how democracy may look in the future. Instead of casting their ballots for just one candidate, San Franciscans will now rank the candidates in most local races according to their first, second and third choices. If no candidate gets more than 50%,...

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