Website Search

Sunday, May 24, 2009

IRV advocates don't talk about Cary, North Carolina any more

The town of Cary North Carolina was a volunteer in an instant runoff voting "pilot" in 2007. This was highly touted by FairVote, a national group that promotes IRV. When the issue came up again this year, FairVote focused its resources intensely on the town of Cary and its govt. FairVote went so far as to launch a national alert to get advocates from around the country to lobby Cary Council Members. That alone raised suspicion amongst some council members, who resented being treated as if they were gullible and or susceptible to such blatent manipulation. The Town of Cary was not obligated to participate again, so they refused. Maybe they didn't like the "voting voodoo" that IRV is.

Cary NC tries IRV, then says ‘no more’

Cary NC is one of a handful of jurisdictions across the US that have experimented with Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). It has often been touted by IRV proponents a a huge success story.

But Cary NC is no longer an IRV jurisdiction and IRV supporters just don’t talk about it any more — because the Cary City Council voted recently against continuing with the pilot program that had seen put in place for the 2007 election cycle.

....The counting of IRV is complex — the elimination of some candidates at the end of the first round means that second choice votes are transferred to other candidates. If a third round is required the elimination and transfer process continues. The average voter has to place great trust in the reliability of the counting algorithm in a way far beyond what is necessary in plurality voting. So the counting is opaque and non-transparent — a kind of voting voodoo with election officials in the role of witch doctor producing the magical results. If one believes strongly that the average voter should be able to understand and observe the counting of votes in a democracy, then IRV fails to meet this standard.

And there you have the reason that so few jurisdictions go to the trouble and jump through the hoops for IRV. Because the process is not transparent and often the results do not make sense. Like in Aspen where in three contests each winner had same number of votes. Or in Cary, where the winner did not win with a majority. It is hard to count, and apparently in some cases the rules are made up as they go along. Aspen Colorado's IRV has been compared to "Football rules" in the piece "Street Football" or how they crossed the threshold by pulling votes out of their "Asspen"!

Pierce County Washington will have to put the issue to a vote to get rid of IRV. Burlington Vermont and Aspen Colorado are both considering doing that as well. At least in North Carolina this is just a pilot, and it is not permanent.

Just say NO. Don't Drink the IRV Kool-aid!

IRV is just so screwed up that I am running out of the energy to link to all of the screwups.