Saturday, November 14, 2009

New York, your Trojan Horse is at the gates - instant runoff voting

New York's election pilots of optical scanners are being used as a trojan horse for instant runoff voting. Last week the NY Senate Elections Committee heard several suggestions to eliminate the costs of runoff elections. One suggestion is to just eliminate runoffs and have winner take all elections. IRV advocates lobbyied for instant runoff voting "pilots", which are really just a way to get the camels nose in the tent. The claim is that New York should have no problem at all implementing IRV with new optical scan machines.

IRV pilots were used in North Carolina in an effort to spread IRV all through the state. The effort failed. Only one town was willing to use IRV this year, and that town did not count or use the 2nd or 3rd choice votes in this November election. Worse, the pilots were run inconsistently with NC election law and IRV supporters publicly endorsed the central counting of votes, the only way IRV CAN be counted.

Instant runoff voting "joins 'Internet Voting' and 'Vote-by-Mail' schemes as the latest bad ideas poised to further cripple American democracy" ~ Brad Friedman , national blogger and sometimes contributor to the Guardian UK

*Senate Elections Committee holds hearing on proposals to improve Election Law *Nov 14-15, 2009 Empire State News
...The Elections Committee also heard testimony on legislation intended to improve the voting process going forward. Legislation sponsored by Elections Committee Chair, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., and Senator Bill Perkins (S6248) would eliminate runoff elections in New York City and elsewhere. This year, less than eight percent of registered Democrats, and less than three percent of New York City residents, voted in the primary runoff elections. The cost to taxpayers: $15 million.

“After evaluating the 2009 election in New York it is clear that we are on the right track to ensuring that every New Yorker receives a voice in the electoral process,” said Senator Addabbo. “I am hopeful that optical scan voting machines will ensure that every vote is counted on Election Day, and while great improvements have also been made in the areas of poll site accessibility and efforts to end voter suppression and intimidation, I also believe we can do better. Legislation introduced today would eliminate the outdated practice of primary runoff voting, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in these difficult economic times.”

...*Additional legislation provides alternate suggestions to improve the runoff voting process. Two proposals sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger seek to implement instantaneous runoff voting. S3584 authorizes the use of instantaneous runoff voting on a trial basis for three years in primary and general elections at the option of local governments, while S3589 authorizes the State Board of Elections to establish a pilot program using instantaneous runoff voting for up to ten local governments in 2010 and 2011. *

“Runoffs are extremely costly and only a tiny fraction of voters participate," said Senator Krueger. "This past election cycle in New York City we had a runoff for Comptroller and Public Advocate in which only eight percent of the registered Democrat voters went to the polls but the City spent over 15 million dollars. If my legislation is passed New York would be able to use an instant runoff system where if someone doesn't garner a majority of the vote, the second choice votes will be selected at the same time on the same day. This would let everyone know the outcome of the 'instant runoff’ that day, saving taxpayers millions of dollars and ensuring that candidates with the maximum turnout of primary voters are elected. Since the State and City are moving to paper ballots with optical scanners as the new voting machine technology, it will not be complicated to change to this multiple choice voting system."


FairVote Partnership with Internet Voting Company EveryoneCounts erased after post to election integrity group
The page, before scrubbed, said:"Fairvote in partnership with Everyone Counts and The Center for Voting and Democracy (Fairvote) have entered into an agreement to promote proportional representation in the United States."

Radio interview on lawsuit to get Instant runoff voting in St Paul overturned
"If people would have known how its (IRV) not going to be used .. there are a lot of people who won't use the 2nd choices.. and what happens to them.. people who don't make a second choices... they don't actually get a choice in the final election
it does cause you harm if there's a runoff and your candidate is not one of the top two....Folks in my party will start to see that there wasn't really any debate in Minneapolis... we had more debate in St Paul with the old system than they had with the new system..they deliberately, intentionally and with as much malice as possible claimed false endorsements and mailed that stuff out to try and save the election.
if nothing else, its worth it just to me, as someone whose ran campaigns... to stand up to people who deliberately lie to the public..."

Pierce voters ditch instant runoff voting - save $500K for taxpayers immediately
November 10, 2009 Majority of Pierce County voters reject Instant Runoff Voting on Nov 3Instant runoff voting was rejected by an overwhelming majority of Pierce County Washington Voters. 44,145 of 64,106 voters said yes to ditching instant runoff voting, also called ranked choice voting. That is 71.76% for eliminating IRV and 28.24% who wanted to keep IRV

Instant Runoff Voting really bad says former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown
"Instant runoff voting is really really has eliminated the opportunity..." Former Mayor Willie Brown. (Video at link)

St Paul: Judge rules instant-runoff campaign should go on trial
Nov 8, 2009. A judge ruled that there was probable cause that the St Paul Better Ballots Campaign broke the law when sending out endorsement claims in a campaign mailer promoting instant runoff voting.

"Karl Rove wouldn’t pull crap like this."

Instant runoff voting claims in St Paul are phony says 2nd campaign complaint
November 2, 2009
“I was surprised that Santa Claus and Jesus Christ weren’t on the list,” Repke says. “You can’t be more deceptive than to claim the endorsement of the President of the United States when you don’t have it. I’m just flabbergasted.”Repke is particularly peeved that the pro-IRV group is claiming DFL support. He notes that at the St. Paul DFL convention in March, a resolution to support the ballot measure was explicitly voted down by party activists. And in a town dominated by Democrats, the party’s purported backing could carry weight with voters
“Karl Rove wouldn’t pull crap like this,” he says. “I’ve never seen a more evil campaign than this and I’ve done politics for 30-some odd years in this town.”

Sign up to receive updates by email here: