Wednesday, September 23, 2009

David Richie- "IRV worked let's move on" so Aspen voters just sit down and be quiet!

David Richie has an oped in the Aspen Times about Aspen's May 5 Instant Runoff Voting election. In IRV worked, let's move on Richie wants citizens to quit asking questions about the May 5 IRV election . He might as well have thrown a gauntlet.
Note to Richie: You don't tell Aspen folks to just sit down and be quiet when they have questions about their democracy.

Aspen's May 5 election left many voters doubting the election process because of a lack of transparency, not because of the results. The questions voters seem to be asking is not just whether IRV "worked", but whether the election process was transparent, secure, fair, and accurate. That problems caused by IRV (the complexity, the faulty tallying process and voter confusion) helped draw voters attention to the entire election process.

Another fact is that IRV is but one of several problems with Aspen's May 5 election, and the problems with Aspen's election exist elsewhere. It is just that Aspen voters were paying attention, perhaps because of the new IRV method:

Big changes needed to election system. Sept 22...Marilyn Marks.
...It is not just IRV. The most troublesome issues are not IRV-driven. Dumping IRV is not a panacea. We need fundamental improvements in simple procedures, from appropriate security for physical ballots to acceptable post-election audits, and accurate, timely reporting by the city.

IRV elections require voters to trust in officials instead of a transparent system.
At Voting Matters Blog: "The average voter has to place great trust in the reliability of the counting algorithm in a way far beyond what is necessary in plurality voting. So the counting is opaque and non-transparent — a kind of voting voodoo with election officials in the role of witch doctor producing the magical results."

Elections should be based on a system of checks and balances, and transparent so that the average layperson can observe the process. Instant Runoff Voting does not meet that standard.

Side note: Is David Richie related to Rob Richie of FairVote, the pro IRV organization?

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