Saturday, June 27, 2009

Instant Runoff Voting too Costly - Pierce County WA Says Ditching Would Save $600,000

IRV, Instant Runoff Voting - does NOT save money. In fact, the Pierce County Washington Auditor has recommended ditching IRV in order to save the county money. Savings would be at least $600,000. IRV creates new costs for machines, software, increased ballot printing costs, and increased costs of election administration.

May 6th, 2009 Pierce County auditor sees savings from scrapping ranked choice voting David Wickert

So where might Pierce County Auditor Jan Shabro’s quest for cost savings eventually lead? Think ranked choice voting.

After Tuesday’s County Council vote rejecting her request to close the polls for budget reasons this year, Shabro said she has about $600,000 in her budget dedicated to implementing the system voters approved in 2006 and used for the first time in 2008.

In November voters will consider an amendment to the county charter repealing ranked choice voting. County officials say voter confusion about the system contributed to long lines at the polls last November. Ranked-choice voting supporters say the auditor’s office blamed the system for its own mistakes....But Shabro said the repeal would save money next year, when the county budget may be in even worse shape...

Why does Instant Runoff Voting increase election costs?

A recap by Pierce County Washington officials outlines the costs and issues:

The county had the costs of new software, education, equipment, increased testing, additional staffing, increased ballot printing and postage costs. The county hired an Election Consultant. Total costs - $3,291,340. Due to complications, four additional Charter Amendments had to be presented to the voters in November 2007 to clarify the implementation of IRV. Other unexpected costs - the county had to switch to central counting of the votes after discovering that the precinct scanners could not count the IRV votes. This meant hauling ballots to the county office to be counted by the central count scanners. The shift to central counting meant the county had to hire 114 Ballot Transporters and Ballot Processors. The county also instituted 24 hour shifts to check in, visually scan and tabulate the votes...

56,751 of 90,738 Pierce County Voters polled said they did not like IRV

December 5th, 2008 Ranked Choice: Very expensive and Pierce voters hated it Joe Turner The News Tribune.

...Although Pierce County voters changed the county charter last year to allow the new voting method, it appears they have changed their collecting mind. Two of three voters who responded to a survey were opposed to the concept.
...McCarthy said 90,738 voters answered the questionnaire that asked, "Did you like this new Ranked Choice Voting method?"Of those, 56,751 said "No," 29,206 said "Yes" and 4,781 were undecided.

In November, Pierce County voters decide whether to ditch IRV or not:

February 10th, 2009 Pierce County voters will decide fate of new voting system*David Wickert* The News Tribune
Pierce County voters will decide in November whether to repeal an election system they used for the first time last fall. By a vote of 6-1, the County Council approved an amendment to the county charter this afternoon that would repeal ranked choice voting. Now the fate of the election system goes to voters for the third time in three years. ..