Sunday, May 24, 2009

Was Aspen Colorado Election a South Park Plot? Pulling Votes Out of Asspen

First - time - everrr. Instant runoff voting as part of a South Park plot. This is the very first time I've seen a blog use the word "Ass" and the cartoon "South Park" in order to make a point about election transparency. Election integrity advocate Chris Telesca finds actual parallels in a South Park episode AND the recent Aspen Colorado instant runoff voting election.

Joyce McCloy, Kathy Dopp, and the folks at RangeVoting have posted a link to an open letter to Fair(yTale)Vote's Rob Richie in response to Rob's puff piece at the Huffington Post entitled "Good Things Come to Those Who Rank: Campaign Finance, Political Dialogue, and Instant Runoff Voting" (does that make it a "huff piece"?) from Marilyn Marks - one of the candidates in the recent Aspen Co IRV race. ....

....They stopped counting as soon as they got 1273 - which is why the winners in three different races have exactly the same number of winning votes. IRV advocate Terry Boricious claims that is Cambridge IRV rules, but it seems more like "street football" (comedy routine by Bill Cosby, where he who brings the football makes the rules). I say this is pulling votes out of your "Asspen" (funny "South Park" episode which you can watch here). If you have seen the episode - do you recognize any link between the timeshare organization that seems to control everything and the folks and organizations pushing IRV?

How can this possibly be a smooth election where IRV proved anything other than how complicated it is in the first place?

The first "instant runoff voting" election in Aspen Colorado was touted as a "success" by IRV advocate Rob Richie. How successful was the election? Weird stuff happened. In three different contests, the three different winners got exactly the same number of votes each, 1,273. Considering that the 3 different candidates did not all "go" the same number of "rounds", how can this be? Although IRV was sold as a happy -happy - feel - good sort of election method, (much the way some Jonestown folks thought of Kool-aid until Jim Jones served up a special flavor one day) many candidates and voters ended up feeling rather disturbed by the election method
How was this election decided? By Election Voodoo.

For Mayor
Mick Ireland (4) 0 1273 ELECTED -- 4th round

For Council Seat 1 - ttp://
Council Seat 1 Round 4.htm ROUND 4 -- Jack Johnson (2) has been DEFEATED -- transferring all votes.
Derek Johnson (8) +40 1273 ELECTED -- 4th round For Council Seat 2\und3.htm
ROUND 3 -- Michael Behrendt (5) has been DEFEATED -- transferring all votes. CANDIDATE THIS ROUND TOTAL STATUS
Torre (4) +200 1273 ELECTED -- 3rd round

Minnesota IRV elections may take month to count - not so instant after all

Citizens of Minneapolis are learning that instant runoff voting isn't instant, nor is it "as easy as 1-2-3." after all. It looks like IRV advocates will get what they want - the happy - happy - feel - good Instant Runoff Voting. But it will take weeks to find out who the winners of the election are, according to the City's election director. Gee, we could have told them that, it took Two and a half weeks to count Instant Runoff Voting in Pierce Co and San Francisco . Good thing that Minneapolis has so many breweries, the city council and mayor may need something to treat their anxiety during the long wait for results. The next step ( it always happens) is for IRV advocates to push for uncertified voting software, to make IRV seem more instant. (There is no federally certified software in the US).

Elections director says instant runoff tallies could take weeks to count
Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public RadioMay 21, 2009

Members of the Minneapolis City Council found out today that they'll likely have to wait a month or more after election day to find out whether they win re-election this year. City elections officials estimate it will take between 30 and 60 days -- working 8-hours-a-day, 7-daysa-week -- to tally ballots under the city's new instant runoff voting system.

Minneapolis — Up until this year, Minneapolis residents have voted for mayor, city council, park board and other municipal offices the old fashioned way. You choose your favorite candidate and vote for him or her. Whoever gets the most votes wins. But that's all going to change.

With instant runoff voting, you can cast your ballot for a first-choice candidate, a second-choice and a third. Counting those ballots is a complicated and time-consuming process; it involves a series of rounds, called runoffs. The city's vote-counting machines will be able to help a little bit, but most of the work has to be done by hand.

...Ostrow said, at this point, he would vote to delay instant runoff voting until there are machines to handle the counting. But he said he's in the minority on the city council.

IRV is hard to count by hand, because it is not additive. You can't just add up vote totals for candidates. Each individual ballot has to be considered and votes are allocated and re-allocated. It is very complex. If it is this hard to count by hand, do you really trust computers to get it right, given that there's so many problems with electronic vote counting now?

If you are unaware of the problems with computerized vote counting, then visit the website for electronic vote counting problems and failed elections 101.

Cary, North Carolina, the city with the most Ph.D.s per capita in the U.S. for towns larger than 75,000 people - tried IRV in October 2007. Cary saw the front end and back end of IRV, and based on the results - did not choose IRV again.

Just Say No to Instant Runoff Voting. Don't Drink the Kool-Aid!

May 6, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting Retreats in North Carolina
May 2, 2009 Instant Runoff? No. Cary votes to keep traditional runoff elections
May 2, 2009 Cary News: In our opinion: IRV too risky
April 29, 2009 Instant runoff voting is a trojan horse - letter by Voting activist to Cary Town Council
April 25, 2009 Real reason instant runoff voting being pushed in North Carolina
April 17, 2009 IRV groups push method that makes ballot box stuffing easier
April 7, 2009 Durham Community leaders oppose Instant Runoff Voting at City Council Meeting
March 23, 2009 Fake Instant Runoff Voting for Hendersonville NC in 2009? No One Asked the Voters Yet
August 29, 2008 North Carolina: Instant Runoff Voting is no solution, says election official who was there
August 18, 2008 Instant Runoff North Carolina: There Is No IRV Software For North Carolina's Voting Machines
June 27, 2008
Instant runoff forces Pierce County Washington to use uncertified voting systems