Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is IRV vulnerable to legal challenges?

This was forwarded to me today by a group of concerned citizens who are opposing instant runoff voting in Minnesota:

INFORMATION BRIEF Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department
600 State Office Building St. Paul, MN 55155
Matt Gehring, Legislative Analyst 651-296-5052

February 2007Instant-Runoff Voting Is IRV vulnerable to legal challenges? (page 7 of this 7 page report)

"Under the U.S. Constitution, states have the authority to conduct elections in a manner of their choosing. Elections have historically been conducted by awarding the office to whichever candidate received the highest number of votes. This, however, is tradition and is not constitutionally required.

Any methods of voting must still comply with the rights enumerated under both the U.S. and Minnesota Constitutions, including the "one person, one vote" principle. In 1915, a form of ranked voting was deemed unconstitutional by the Minnesota Supreme Court because it had the effect of giving some voters the weight of more than one vote relative to other voters in the same election.4 A court is more likely to declare unconstitutional any IRV method that has the effect of giving some voters more power than others, even if the voter is unaware of this disparity on election day. " end of doc

There are other election methods that might help empower third parties without all of the complications. See Technical Evaluation of Election Methods over at Minguo. Also see this elections reform site All About Voting.