Saturday, March 7, 2009

No Majority Winner in Instant Runoff Voting election in Burlington Vermont Mayoral Contest

Chris Telesca analyzed the instant runoff voting data for the recent Burlington Mayoral contest. It turns out that even after all of the instant runoff voting gyrations of counting 3 rounds, that no candidate won a majority of the votes. Groups touting IRV often claim that Instant runoff voting produces a "true majority" winner. Not so says Chris:

March 4, 2009 2nd IRV election in Burlington VT does not result in a majority winner!
...Bob Kiss had 4313 - or 48.41% of the original 8909, not 51.5%.Kurt Wright had 4061 - or 45.58% of the original 8909, not 48.5%.That is because the total number of votes for these two candidates in this round is 8374 - or 535 less than the original 8909 cast in the first round. That is why an IRV win is not a true majority win in all but one or two cases because you never really get a true majority of the first round votes cast.

Chris has found majority failure in other Instant Runoff Voting elections:

2 out of 3 Pierce County RCV "winners" don't have a true majority
Peirce County WA claims to have winners in their RCV races - but were they real majority wins?

....In order to get a true majority, the winner would have needed 131,224 votes. The person who led the race in all 4 rounds "won" the RCV race in the 4th round with 98,366 - 32,858 short of a true majority....