Thursday, March 4, 2010

Update-Instant runoff voting ditched by Sunnyvale, Burlington, Cary, Pierce CO, Aspen may ditch in Nov 10

Instant Runoff Voting is complex, doesn't meet its promise and can provide whacky results causing voters to lose confidence in the process. It is expensive in up front costs and requires repeated voter education. That is why the list of places that have rejected instant runoff voting continues to grow. Sunnyvale California, Cary North Carolina, Pierce County Washington, Burlington Vermont, the Utah Republican Party and even Georgetown University. Aspen Colorado (will hold another vote in Nov 2010 to make repeal binding), IRV has been controversial in San Francisco and a lawsuit was filed to try to block the limited pick 3 style IRV.

**Update on May 30, 2010**

Latest to ditch IRV: Monday, May 24, 2010 Sunnyvale CA scraps Instant Runoff Voting for selection of Mayor! Sunnyvale's City Council says no more to instant runoff voting after using it for first time since adopting it. The council said that IRV was "too complicated for the public to understand". Sunnyvale council changes the way it chooses the mayor By Mayra Flores De 05/20/2010 08:04:34 PM PDT
Burlington ditched IRV. On March 2, 2010 Burlington voters voted to repeal IRV. Voters decided that they would tell the politicians how they preferred to vote rather than let the politicians tell them. The grassroots stood up to a huge influx of out of state pro IRV dollars and to big politicians' last minute lobbying and robo calls. 7315 voters voted on the question in 2005, 326 less than this year. The difference between then and now is experience:

"Being charmed by it ideologically is quite different from experiencing how it twists the results of an election." - Lea Terhune of Repeal IRV blog.

...Ewing, a longtime Democratic leader in the city, called the measure a principled effort to repeal an overly complicated system, “a system which, on paper, persuaded people to give it a try but in reality resulted in a very confusing and poor system.”
Whatever the motive, FairVote, a Takoma, Md., group which supports IRV, as well as the League of Women Voters and Vermont Public Interest Research Group, showed interest in the outcome in a traditional way — they gave money. The League gave just $400, but VPIRG gave $10,000 and FairVote, $6,500, significant amounts for a small-city local ballot item.

Councilor Calls for Mayor Bob Kiss to Resign March 3, 2010
...Adrian said the defeat of instant-runoff voting, combined with the city council losses of two Progressives, and the loss of a Democratic ally of the mayor send a clear message that voters have lost confidence in the city's top elected official.

After the
Burlington Vermont 2009 IRV mayor election , reports showed that the election suffered from just about every pathology in the book: thwarted-majority, non-monotonicity, spoiler effect & other failures. See Nov 5, 2009 Burlington IRV repeal picks up momentum "...A lot of people think the mayor's race was invalid, that we have an invalid mayor..."

DITCHED ON JAN 7, 2010 Utah Republican Party
Utah Republican Convention Change Could Change Strategy for Candidates
There’s one big change coming to the Republican State Convention in May. The central committee has scrapped “instant run-off voting” in favor of the more traditional multiple-ballot system to determine their nominees.

MOVING TO DITCH. ON NOV 3, 2009. ASPEN COLORADO Aspen Instant Runoff Voting--Up for Repeal in November 2010 Aspen to reconsider Instant Runoff Voting this November - City Council cite problems with May election (blog)IRV still fails after all of the
ballots counted November 17, 2009November 3, 2009 Aspen rejects Instant Runoff Voting — by six votes.The city of Aspen launched its first-ever IRV election this past May. Shortly thereafter, doubts among elected officials and some residents surfaced as to whether the method was the best way to elect a mayor and City Council members.
Aspen voters to vote on how they vote — again Wednesday, July 22, 2009 Carolyn Sackariason The Aspen Times Aspen, CO Colorado (news article).
Also see Aspen Election Review May 5 2009 IRV single ballot audit unit

Majority of Pierce County voters reject Instant Runoff Voting on Nov 3 Instant 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.
Pierce voters ditch instant runoff voting - save $500K for taxpayers immediately
Nov 10 2009... Voters' repeal of Ranked-Choice Voting last week also freed-up $500,000 would have been needed to implement the voting system for the 2010 election.
Also see
Voters changing their minds on ranked-choice
Background: A poll from 2008 showed that
63% of Pierce County WA voters don't like Ranked Choice Voting. That is 56,751 out of 90,738 Pierce County voters who answered a questionnaire included with their ballots that asked, “Did you like this new Ranked Choice Voting method?” December 7, 2008 The News Tribute. The county could save $600,000 if they scrapped instant runoff voting now.

DITCHED. CARY NORTH CAROLINA Cary North Carolina rejected a second go at IRV, voted to keep current election method WRAL News Apr. 30 2009 Cary, N.C. — The Cary Town Council voted against a proposal Thursday to change the current election method. WRAL News and Protect NC Elections Stop IRV Blog . Also see Cary NC tries IRV, then says ‘no more’

DITCHED. GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY. February 21, 2009 Georgetown University ditches Instant Runoff Voting - cites problems
The Hoya and No IRV in NC Blog

REJECTED. BRITISH COLUMBIA (2ND TIME) 61% of the voters gave a thumbs down for STV, Single Transferrable Vote, a ranking method in British Columbia. May 12, 2009. BC chose NOT to adopt STV for the 2nd time.

Instant runoff voting was invented in 1870 by American architect
William Robert Ware yet has not been widely adopted. IRV has also been rejected by a few jurisdictions that used it. Perhaps the problem is that IRV is loaded with the potential for perverse outcomes and is difficult to count in a transparent fashion (since it it not additive and votes are redistributed).

To learn more about Instant Runoff Voting problems see our website
Instant Runoff Voting in the US

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