Sunday, September 14, 2008

Instant Runoff Voting: Not Saving Money & Politics Nasty As Usual In San Francisco

Four years later, we hear that IRV still hasn't saved San Francisco money, in fact it is costing money, and politics is as nasty as ever:

The City's Voting Machines STILL Uncertified? Yes We Can! Aug 28, 08 Greg Dewar

One of the bigger lies that was told during the campaign to force IRV/RCV/WTF down everyone's throats was that the system would "save money," because it would mean no runoff election.

Well, once again, that absurd little promise is proving once again to be false. Last year we had to hand count and re-do people's ballots for them, all by hand, because of problems with our voting systems. Now, the ugly little problem no one wants to talk about rears its head again, as it's been revealed NONE of the City's voting machines are certified for use. Yes, really.

...Last year we saw the specter of IRV/RCV/WTF advocates actually attacking Secretary of State Bowen for doing her job to maintain the integrity of the election system - because they wanted to defend their ideological vies, voter rights be damned. Look for a repeat performance this year.

IRV/RCV/WTF's many promises have mostly been proven false as the system has been implemented. Campaigns are NOT nicer, the top vote getter on Election night wins anyway, incumbents are ensured re-election (thus essentially giving all elected officials 8 year terms) and the crowded podium at debates and in news coverage ensures that the discussion of complex city policy is reduced to 15 and 30 second soundbites at endless "debates" that tell you nothing about what these people plan to do. That is, when we even bother to have people run against each other.

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) and racial minorities

Warren Smith at the Center for Range Voting analyzed the minority representation in Australia, a country that has used IRV for decades. Here is an excerpt, there is an entire webpage with charts and even pictures showing that Australia is electing caucasions only with IRV.

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) and racial minorities

It has sometimes been stated (falsely) by IRV-propagandists, that IRV helps minorities. But in fact, the available evidence indicates it hurts them.

[Skip to conclusion] [About the (unrelated?) fact IRV favors "extremists"]

To see this, we shall compare minority representation in federal IRV-elected and plurality-elected seats versus the minority percentages in the population at large, in the top IRV-using country (Australia) and the top two plurality-using countries (USA & UK) in years 2005-2008. We find, e.g, that there are zero racial-minority IRV seatholders...

...So given this, we suggest to you that based on the data that we have, and until any evidence comes along to the contrary, you should conclude that IRV disfavors racial minorities.

Please see the rest of this fascinating study here:

A little about Warren D. Smith:

Warren D. Smith Temple University Math Dept. Wachman Hall, Room 428, 1805 North Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19122.


Ph.D. (Applied Math) Princeton 1988
Ph.D. Thesis: ``Studies in computational geometry motivated by mesh generation,'' (485 pp.) Advisors: J.H. Conway & R.E. Tarjan, Princeton University.
Can order copy from University Microfilms International, via their online web server UMI "dissertation express", at cost $29.50 US (as of 1998) and with delivery in 4-5 days. UMI's order number for my PhD thesis is 9002713. (Also: UMI phone orders 800-521-0600 extension 3781.)
M.A. (Applied Math) Princeton 1986
B.Sc. (Physics) 1984 & B.Sc. (Math) 1984 (double major) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (4.7/5 GPA. Also got perfect scores on both the Physics and Math special subject "GRE" tests.)
B.Sc. Thesis: ``Learning and Rating Systems.'' Advisor: Richard P. Stanley.
Took 4 semesters of German; and 2 of Spanish at M.I.T.; 1 semester of private Japanese course at NEC. Can read papers in German & Spanish (especially with aid of a dictionary...).