Friday, October 30, 2009

Instant Runoff Voting - Is it Democratic?

Instant Runoff Voting - Is it Democratic? Information from an in-depth study performed on the Burlington, VT Mayoral Election by the University of Vermont's Legislative Research Shop. It answers the question which all voting systems should address - do the results reflect the will of the people?

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Instant runoff voting video shows insane results - like in real life

See how instant runoff voting math works in real life. Voting Matters blogs it most succintly, and has a short youtube video at the link.
You want insane election results? Just try IRV! Voting Matters Blog.
One of the many dubious claims about Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is that it will produce a consensus winner. Not always true, as has been found in studies of both Aspen, CO and Burlington, VT. The candidate with the most first and second place support does not always win. This is because it is possible to hurt your preferred candidate by turning out too many supporters in his behalf. How is this possible? Just take a look at this explanatory video to see how this could happen (and has indeed happened in real elections in various places across the U.S.) at the link
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Oakland Mayor questions instant runoff voting in Alameda County - rightly so

Mayor Perata of Oakland, California is raising concerns about whether the county is ready to implement ranked choice voting aka instant runoff voting in next years elections. His opponent, City Councilwoman Jean Quan slings mud at him claiming Perata is afraid RCV would help her to win. But Perata is wrong wrong wrong, if San Francisco's track record with IRV/RCV is right. IRV/RCV is complex, costly, confusing and in non partisan elections acts as incumbent protection. Many jurisdictions that have actually implemented instant runoff voting have ditched it or are moving to ditch it.

Perata questions ranked choice voting in Alameda County
By Chris Metinko Oakland Tribune 10/29/2009
Three years after Oakland voters approved instant runoff voting for city elections, one Oakland mayoral candidate is questioning whether or not the city, county and voters are ready for it.

In a letter to Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi, former state Senate leader Don Perata brings up a variety of questions and concerns about the possibility of using instant runoff voting in next year's city elections.

Oakland voters approved instant runoff voting under Measure O in 2006. ...
The measure called for such ranked choice voting to start in 2010. However, in Perata's letter he questions if there is enough time to educate voters on the new system, if the new system is safe and secure and the cost of using such an "experimental voting system."

"This is our most sacred right," Perata's campaign manager, Larry Tramutola, said. "We need to make sure it's done right and not something that's just rushed.

"Too many times in Oakland, things just get thrown out and then someone has to go clean it up," Tramutola added, pointing to the recent controversy over city parking meter hours.

If Mayor Perata were truly self serving, he would WANT instant runoff voting, aka ranked choice voting. All you need to do is look at San Francisco, the one California jurisdiction that has administered several IRV/RCV elections. It has served as incumbent protection there.

Just In Case You Were Wondering....Some Ideas on How To Vote on 11/3
... So there's an election going on next Tuesday, but I think this off-year must have set a record for Most Boring Election Ever.

...Remember how we were told that voting for so-called "instant runoff voting" was going to usher in this big future where under-funded candidates could be freer to challenge The System and all that?
The problem this year is that we have two incumbents, each running unopposed this year. This is nothing new - three years ago I wrote about this very same phenomenon and offered up then what I'm offering now - Fun With IRV Ballots.... Fill out your ballot with your own favorite characters. If all of this seems silly, well it is. So is the fact that all the promises made about IRV never came true. We're left with paying for an expensive system that hasn't lived up to its promises.

If someone is a lame nobody running for office, they still lose. Just because we played games to fit the needs of a handful of ideologues whose true agenda has yet to be revealed, doesn't mean anything is different.Incumbents are always re-elected,
and the candidates who have the most support always win. It's even easier when no one bothers to run against them!

Perhaps IRV should more aptly be renamed Incumbent Return Voting.

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