Friday, July 24, 2009

Correcting MPR "Ritchie watching IRV in Minneapolis, other states" - North Carolina info is WRONG

MPR has some facts wrong in a recent story on Instant Runoff Voting. NPR cites Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie as saying that 10 cities in North Carolina are experimenting with IRV. The citation is not a direct quote, but attributes statements or ideas to the honorable SOS Ritchie. Regardless, NPR's story is wrong.

Ritchie watching IRV in Minneapolis, other states July 22, 2009 ...Ritchie said he's been watching how IRV is being used in other states. He said North Carolina is experimenting with ranked choice voting in 10 cities of different sizes and different demographics.

There is only one town in North Carolina experimenting with IRV in 2009, the little town of Hendersonville. There were 2 cities participating in North Carolina's IRV pilot in 2007, Cary and Hendersonville. In April 2009, the Cary Town Council voted not to participate in further IRV pilots, but to keep its normal election method. This was after Cary had the full experience of IRV including counting the votes. See Cary NC tries IRV, then says 'no more'

I have to wonder why there was no mention of all of the jurisdictions considering ditching IRV, like Pierce County Washington, Aspen, Colorado or Burlington Vermont? These jurisdictions have discovered what instant runoff voting elections are really like. There's a reason that so few jurisdictions have adopted and implemented IRV, and it is because it is complex to count and also has perverse outcomes, shaking the confidence of the voters and the candidates.

*****UPDATE**** at 6:46 PM eastern, the reporter emailed me to advise the article has been corrected in the web article. We hope that for future stories on IRV, at least pertaining to North Carolina, that MPR or any other media will contact the NC Coalition for Verified Voting, the NC State Board of Elections, or perhaps candidates who have participated in the IRV elections for information.