Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Instant Runoff Voting at its worst in Burlington Vermont

Even instant runoff voting advocates find it hard to ignore the flaws in the Burlington Vermont Mayoral Election. A critique of Instant Runoff Voting by Political Scientist Tony Gierzynski can be read in The Vermont Daily Briefing Bierzynski uses the Burlington mayoral election to showcase IRV's major flaws.

Philip Baruth over at The Vermont Daily Briefing says that even though he supports instant runoff, "questions linger about IRV itself...Tony’s arguments give me real pause." - PM

March 12th, 2009
Voting Paradoxes and Perverse Outcomes: Political Scientist Tony Gierzynski Lays Out A Case Against Instant Runoff Voting

Let’s get right into it: Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is not good. It is not good because it suffers from three fundamental problems: it discriminates against classes of voters by adding complexity the ballot; it has a very real potential to produce perverse outcomes or voting paradoxes that are not majoritarian; and it fails to address the real problem that arises when multiple parties compete in a two-party system.....

Its a technological fix for a political problem:

...In such cases what IRV does is it allows the factions to ignore the political problem by using a technological fix as opposed to resolving their differences through the necessary negotiations that characterize politics.

In other words, IRV allows such factions to avoid working together (as they should
because they want mostly the same thing). When such factions fail to work together, they ultimately fail to accomplish the reason such organizations exist, which is not just to continue existing: it is to win control of government in order to make people’s lives better in a manner consistent with their political values.

More reports and data about instant runoff voting in Vermont here at the Vermont Legislative Research Shop