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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fayetteville NC turns down Instant Runoff Voting

The Fayetteville City Council chose not to be a guinea pig for instant runoff voting in this year's elections. NC Verified Voting applauds the City Council for their prudence. IRV would be especially complex to tally in Fayetteville because the city uses two different voting systems in their elections. Fayetteville voters cast ballots on both optical scan and touchscreen voting systems. These two voting systems collect vote tallies differently. On top of that, there is no software to tally IRV ballots.
Fayetteville made a wise choice. Consider that Instant Runoff was a disaster in Cary North Carolina . That town had trouble counting just 3,000 IRV ballots on optical scan ballots. The Cary Town Council chose not to use IRV this year. Unfortunately, the Fayetteville Observer unquestioningly repeats the incorrect claim that IRV would save money. IRV saves money alright, just like getting a free pony saves money. Someone has to pay for the feed and upkeep, free or not.

Fayetteville skips instant runoff voting opportunity - ‎May 29, 2009‎

...The Fayetteville City Council decided against participating in the state’s pilot program this fall. The program would have eliminated the city primary, which will be Oct. 6.

The city, which holds elections biannually in odd-numbered years, usually needs a primary for some of its council districts. The two candidates with the most votes in each primary contest advance to the general election in November.

Mayor Tony Chavonne said he discussed the idea with other council members in recent weeks, and the consensus was to pass on the idea.

“It’s so complicated, we didn’t think we had enough time to understand it ourselves, much less educate citizens about it,” Chavonne said...

1. NC's voting machines DO NOT have the software to tabulate Instant runoff voting, according to a report by the NC State Board of Elections to legislators.
2. IRV DOES NOT SAVE MONEY. IRV has hidden but very expensive costs. See fiscal analysis by other statesThere is the cost of the new machines, software, procedural and policy changes, training, and voter education.
3. IRV often fails to find a majority winner and often the final winner is the same candidate who had most votes in the first round.
See Cary IRV election results for Oct. 2007. After running voters 1, 2n and 3rd choices, Don Frantz obtained 1,401 votes,which is 46.36% of all votes cast in the Cary District B contest. Also see majority failure
4. Requires the Central Counting of votes. IRV is not additive so cannot be tallied at the polling place. There is no such thing as a "subtotal" in IRV. In IRV every single vote may have to be sent individually to the central agency (1,000,000·N numbers, i.e. 1000 times more communication)That means moving votes before they are counted, violating a key principle of election integrity.
Instant Runoff Voting violates a key principle of elections, the Kiss principle.
"We are taught that we live in a democracy. But we can not know that we do unless we are eternally vigilant, and keep a close watch on our elections and how the votes are counted. Otherwise, we can not know, but only have faith, that we live in a democracy." - Andy Silver, Co-Founder of the NC Coalition for Verified Voting.