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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Instant Runoff Not the Answer. Plurality is only way to avoid second election says Durham BOE

Instant runoff voting advocates say IRV will save money and produce a true majority. But Instant Runoff Voting produced a plurality result in the Cary NC October 2007 election and created new costs and labor. It took 4 groups of 3-4 individuals to count the ballots. That election also resulted in a miscount, an audit and then a full blown recount before a winner could be declared. Special voter education and poll worker training was needed. Worse, not all votes are counted in Instant Runoff Voting elections!

It would be cheaper and simpler to just have a plurality election, if your main goal was to avoid a second election, right?

The Durham County Board of Elections is asking its City Council to adopt plurality elections to save money and avoid second elections this year. Their Chairman has written a letter to the City Council to adopt plurality elections. Here's that letter outlining potential savings. (hint you don't need special training or voter education and costs are fixed, i.e you can predict them):

Below is Mr. Gregory's full letter to the Durham Mayor and City Council:

Mayor Bell and Members of Council February 3 , 2009
101 City Hall Plaza
Durham, NC, 27701

Dear Mayor Bell and Members of Council.

The Board of Elections requests that you change to the Non-Partisan Plurality method of election.

This would save city taxpayers $170,000-$185,000 this year.NC Law authorizes four types of municipal elections:
-Partisan primary and partisan election 9 cities currently use this method
-Non-Partisan plurality 487 cities currently use this method
-Non-Partisan primary and NP election 25 cities currently use this method
-Non-Partisan election and run off 28 cities currently use this method

City of Durham charter authorizes the council to change/select their method of election. Each of the four authorized election methods have produced both outstanding and poor leaders. This is not an issue of which type of election is better or worse.

It is an issue of saving taxpayer money.The Non-Partisan plurality method is the only method that ensures only one election/voting process. The cost of conducting elections continues to increase. The estimated cost of the 2009 City of Durham municipal primary and election will be approximately $350,000-$375,000.

Regardless of the number of races on the ballot, we have the same fixed costs for every election—precinct workers, ballots, machines, rents, supplies, advertising, one stop, training and testing.

Again, if you change to the Non-Partisan Plurality method of election, this will eliminate the primary and guarantee that we only have one election/voting process. This action will save the City $170,000-$185,000 this year.

Turn out for the municipal primaries has been: 1995-15.4%, 1997-13.0%, 1999-16.0%, 2001-12.03%, 2003-16.28%, 2005-11.06%, 2007-10.64%Filing will still be conducted during the period July 3 –July 17 and the Non Partisan Plurality Election will be conducted on November 3, 2009.

Ronald A. GregoryChairman,
Board of Elections

This also protects election integrity AND all of the votes are counted, unlike with Instant Runoff Voting.