Website Search

Thursday, July 17, 2008

News and Observer: Instant runoff voting well intentioned but expensive

Here's a letter to the editor of the Raleigh News and Observer that debunks the claim that Instant Runoff Voting saves money. The fact is that IRV is costly. Perry Woods of Raleigh writes:

A costly change July 15, 2008

Officials of the Wake County Board of Elections made an apples-to-oranges comparison of costs in a July 2 People's Forum letter advocating instant runoff voting.

IRV does not save money. It would be expensive to implement, and there are higher recurring costs as well. New equipment and software, worker training, voter education, ballot printing and programming all add up. Utilizing estimates from the state of Maryland, it would cost North Carolina approximately $20 million to start and nearly $3 million annually whether we have a runoff or not.

In the IRV pilot program in Cary, ballots were taken from where they were cast to be counted, and IRV ballots were counted before provisional votes. In Hendersonville, uncertified software was used. This undermines transparency and confidence in our elections.

IRV is a well-intentioned idea that violates the keep-it-simple principle of election integrity. It is more challenging to audit, recount and detect errors. It can be confusing to voters. How many who participated in the May 8 statewide primary could have confidently ranked all four candidates in the Democratic primary for labor commissioner, much less every race on that long ballot? There are less risky and less costly solutions to the problem of high cost/low interest runoffs.

Perry Woods