Hope for All NC Progressives: IRV seems to be on a roll

Under the Dome is reporting that after the success of Instant Runoff Voting in Carey, Hendersonville will be using IRV in their November municipal elections. I haven't seen much about this, but maybe the AC-T will carry some pieces about it now that it will be happening in Hendersonville.

Who from the triangle area can tell me about IRV in Carey and how it worked out?



observers of the count and attendees of the BOE meeting

I heard from 2 people who observed a few polling places on election day, who observed the "instant runoff" of the second round, and who attended the Wake County Board of Elections meeting for Canvass on Tuesday.

There are also some media accounts.

1. Some voters mis-marked ballots - some marked the same candidate for 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice, which means there ballots were exhausted immediately after 1st round, and worthless for rounds 2 and 3.

2. At least one voter heard the meme "IRV is as easy as 1-2-3" too often, and marked their ballot choices with 1,2 and 3 instead of shading in the oval so the ballot could be tabulated by the optical scanner.

3. Provisional ballots were not counted in the first election before going on to the second round or "runoff". The second round that was counted in public did not include the provisional ballots. The approved provisional ballots were later added back in sometime before or on canvassing day.

4. Some time after the counting of the second runoff and after the first media reports, the BOE did an audit which widened Frantz' lead over Maxwell for District B.

A double-checking of votes today in Cary's razor-thin District B Town Council election showed that Don Frantz appears to be the unofficial winner after all.... But Elections Director Cherie Poucher said today that an audit of the votes found math mistakes: several votes for Frantz had been missed, and a group of 24 one-stop ballots had been counted twice for Maxwell.

5. An attendee of the Wake BOE meeting yesterday said that the audit was expanded into a recount of the actual ballots, because some may have been allocated to the wrong candidates. I am waiting for more on that.

6. The News and Observer reports what Don Frantz, winning candidate from District B had to say about IRV on October 15:

Frantz said he wouldn't support another instant-runoff. Hundreds of people he met left the polls not understanding the system, he said.
He prefers an actual runoff with a clear choice of two candidates.
"Even after all this is said and done, none of us got a clear majority," Frantz said.

It seems to me that these

It seems to me that these are issues that could happen with any kind of ballot. I think that a lot of these issues will work themselves out over time, as people get use to IRV

The Great appear great because we are on our knees – Let Us Rise!
-- “Big Jim” Larkin

The Great appear great because we are on our knees – Let Us Rise!
-- “Big Jim” Larkin

how is that & did you know IRV is bad for 3rd parties

Have you ever participated in an audit?

Usually maybe 1 or 2 ballots at the most are mis marked per few thousand. Some precincts all ballots are perfectly marked.

And you certainly won't find any ballots marked with numbers, or three votes for the same candidate.

With a regular election, the provisional ballots WILL be counted before there is a runoff.

The counting of the ballots is more complicated, and re-distributing them (something you don't do in a regular election) incorrectly can affect the outcome of the "runoff".

In San Francisco, they found that less voters were prepared to rank choices in 2005 than were in 2004. So it didn't get better.

The candidates will have to work their tails off educating the voters, because someone has to tell them how to mark their ballot, how to rank their choices, in what order, and that if they don't rank 3, their ballot is worth less than other people's ballots.

No one person one vote here.

Meanwhile, IRV further entrenches the two party monopoly that some "progressives' so hate:

Australian Politics - the "Disadvantages of the Preferential [IRV] System"... promotes a two-party system to the detriment of minor parties and independents.

that means the third parties have little to no impact there

Third parties do not gain any relevance where IRV is used:

From Australian politics:

Unlike some other preferential voting systems, IRV puts particular value on a voter's first choice; a candidate with weak first choice support is unlikely to win even if ranked relatively well on many voters' ballots.

In Australia, the only nation with a long record of using IRV for the election of legislative bodies, IRV produces representation very similar to those produced by the plurality system, with a two party system in parliament similar to those found in many countries that use plurality. If the first preferences of Australian voters were counted on a First Past the Post basis, their elections would produce the same victors about 94% of the time

Only where a third party is already very strong would they have a chance with IRV.

There are other voting methods purported to help third parties.

One method North Carolina used successfully was "fusion voting", but it helped third parties too much, and was eliminated through legislation.

"Electoral fusion is an arrangement where two or more political parties support a common candidate, pooling the votes for all those parties. By offering to endorse a major party's candidate, minor parties can influence the candidate's platform."

Fusion voting does not require special voting machines or software, and is done in states like New York, and in a handful of other states as well.

Proponents of Range Voting say that their system is more effective at helping third parties and they believe that it can be done with current voting systems.


Australian political analysts at Australianpolitics.com understand that IRV results in two-party domination, contrary to persistent IRV propaganda from groups like FairVote. Yes, this is a repeat of her premise...by political analysts in a country that has used IRV for decades in its house. Hello?

Here's some exploration of why IRV incentivizes two-party dominance:

To answer your question, yes

To answer your question, yes I have, although not in NC. I did in FL before I moved. And usually a few are mis marked, but usually people are voting on the same type of ballot that they voted on last time. It seems to me that any major problems are the fault of the election boards for not properly educating people.

As for IRV's effect on third parties, it is true that 94% of the time the results in Australia would be the same if there was a first past the poll election. Again, I am not willing to say that this is not the fault of the voting system, as it is of the third parties. Also, that is 6% of elections that it has had an effect in. Think about how different things would be if there were 6 Green or Progressive Independents in the Senate instead of 1 (Bernie). Or if 6% of the House was this way. 6% is enough to significantly swing the system, in particular inside of a Caucus. Think if Bernie had 5 like minded friends with him in the Senate Democratic Caucus. That would have a major effect on leadership, affecting the entire agenda.

I don't think that IRV is a cure all, but I think that it might be a step in the right direction.

The Great appear great because we are on our knees – Let Us Rise!
-- “Big Jim” Larkin

The Great appear great because we are on our knees – Let Us Rise!
-- “Big Jim” Larkin

anyone for a bullet in the foot?

When did Florida have election audits?

Ion Sancho, Election Supervisor in Florida testified to a congressional committee this year about how the lack of election audits negatively impacted Florida:

The following testimony was submitted to the Elections Subcommittee of the Committee on House Administration on March 20, 2007.
In my testimony today I will focus on the problems Florida has encountered over the past six years and how audits, or more accurately, the lack of audits, have contributed to the current crisis in confidence Floridians have in their electoral system.

Help third parties? Australia has had IRV for decades, and a two party monopoly. In Ireland, where they have a form of IRV, they have nearly a one party system, where for decades seldom ever did any but the
In Ireland, the typical outcome of IRV elections has been single party rule of the Fianna Fail.

The Libertarian Reform Caucus writes about the IRV myths in "Anyone for a Bullet in the Foot? Instant Runoff!" .

The author, Devin Freeman says:

"Instant Runoff does nothing that its proponents say it does. IRV can be trusted to maintain a two-party system. When lawmakers on the hill realize this, what's to stop them from building whole-hearted bipartisan suport for IRV? Some in Congress already say they like it! If nothing is said against IRV, one day we'll all be worse off than we were with Plurality Voting! IRV lovers don't know where they're pointing their pistol! "

San Franciscos' politicians have learned that IRV creates "incumbent protection"

SAN FRANCISCO - Five seats, mayor’s coalition on the line; ranked-choice voting gives incumbents lift

Ranked-choice voting gives incumbents a “tremendous advantage,” according to San Francisco-based political consultant Eric Jaye. A challenger can get more votes than the incumbent, but if the seated official gets more second- and third-rank votes, they can still win the race.

“[Before ranked-choice voting,] all you had to do is push an incumbent into a runoff, then you’d have equality,” Jaye said. “Now, you don’t just have to make the incumbent the second choice, you have to make them the fourth choice.”

Left or right foot?

I already have a problem following through off the tee and with my long irons, so if I had to choose, I'd probably shoot my right f...ohhh, you meant that metaphorically.

Sorry. ;)

thanks for the "shot" of humor

maybe it should be a rule to inject humor to all blogs, or at least in one of the comments.

Would make the day go by better.

IRV is a step in the wrong direction

No, IRV is a step in the wrong direction, because it incentivizes the use of fraud-conducive electronic voting machines, causes spoiled ballots to be 7 times as frequent, and prevents the adoption of massively simpler and better methods like Approval Voting. Hence this plea for sanity from the Center for Range Voting to the IRV community:


Joyce may not be a math geek like the Princeton math Ph.D. who founded the Center for Range Voting, but she's right about what she's saying here.

Clay Shentrup
San Francisco, CA