Thursday, June 10, 2010

Response To "Voting Matters Blog" Criticism Of Instant Runoff Voting

I recently discovered the Voting Matters Blog. It seems that the author/editor of the blog and I agree on many points (verifable voter paper trails, suspicion of Diebold, and investigating allegations of minorities being blocked/diverted/intimidated at the polls). However, we disagree in our views of ranked choice voting, as evidenced by the misleading video about IRV (instant runoff voting, a form of ranked choice voting) posted on the blog.

This video is one of a whole set of videos posted by the YouTube user "SJVoter". The videos grossly exaggerate the few disadvantages that ranked choice voting has, while at the same time ignoring the enormous advantages it has over the current methods. A side-by-side comparison of ranked choice voting with the current methods, reveals that ranked choice voting is hands-down the winner, no doubt whatsoever. Below is the response I posted at "Voting Matters Blog" regarding this video:

It would take a long time to address all of the fallacies and misleading statements in this video, so I will briefly touch upon only a few points:

The voting example in this video doesn't make any sense. How would Sam be able to convince 28% (10 out of 35) of the Manny voters to switch from ranking him (Sam) LAST to suddenly ranking him (Sam) FIRST? Even more bizarre, assuming Sam could somehow achieve such a feat, then why would every single other Manny voter still rank him dead LAST?

Somehow Sam can convince a number of voters to change their ranking of him from 3rd to 1st, but he can't convince a single person to change their ranking of him from 3rd to 2nd?!?!

Sam didn't lose because "he got more support" as stated in the video, Sam lost because (1) he didn't have a majority of first-choice votes, and (2) he was so unpopular that he couldn't get a single 2nd-choice vote from any of the Manny voters.

This example is a ridiculously contrived situation which would never exist in reality. If ALL of the Sam voters prefer Manny as a 2nd-choice, then why is it that ZERO Manny voters prefer Sam as a 2nd-choice? If ALL of the Manny voters prefer Joel as a 2nd-choice, then why is it that ZERO Joel voters prefer Manny as a 2nd-choice? If ALL of the Joel voters prefer Sam as a 2nd-choice, then why is it that ZERO Sam voters prefer Joel as a 2nd-choice?

As a side note, I would encourage Lea Terhune to do some research before making wild, uninformed allegations about FairVote. They are actually a highly reputable organization that has always been open about their involvement in elections and campaigns.


  1. I notice you are a subscriber to

    That's how I found your site.

    You really should subscribe to:

    As for your Sam and Manny story, it is merely an example of what can happen with IRV. You expect the author in 10 minutes to go through all the permutations? Simply put, he had less first place votes and he won, more first place votes and he lost. WTF? In actuality, the problem of GETTING MORE VOTES AND YOU LOOSE did happen in Aspen. DO you research rather than parroting FairVote archives.

  2. Thank you for the comment and the link! I would love to hear more about the Aspen issue. Please e-mail me at []. Thanks!

  3. UPDATE: Mr. or Ms. "Anonymous" never did e-mail me, like I asked them to. Which leads me to question, if they really cared about the issue, and felt that they could back up their position with facts and logic, then why would they post anonymously?

  4. Mr. Dunning,

    You blog is very obscure and with 7 posts in 100 days, why would i revisit it?

    You want to know about Aspen:

    here it is:

    BTW, there is a vote to REPEAL IRV on the Nov. Ballot. An advisory repeal vote passed last year.

    RCV is similar to a literacy test at the polls. You want to know about how minorities get screwed with IRV?

    How about something from the University of Vermont?

    P.S. Burlington repealed RCV. It was so complex, even the spokeswoman explained it incorrectly:

    Like you, I thought IRV was a hip way to vote, until I got past the talking points and studied the issue and the results from many cities.

    It doesn't live up to its grandiose promises of Nirvana. It is no better than plurality.