Monday, April 18, 2011

Response To Anti-IRV Article Regarding Hawaii

Here is my response to Rebecca Mercuri's article about IRV in Hawaii:

There is nothing shocking or controversial about instant runoff voting (IRV). It simply means using a ranked ballot so it can be determined who would win a runoff election without having to conduct a second election.

The author is aware of the organization FairVote (, so I'm surprised that she makes several errors in her statements about ranked voting.

For example:

(1) The author's concerns about electronic voting are legitimate. However, a person can be against electronic voting and still support IRV. Ranked voting does not require a computer, and even if a computer is used, the election results can be manually verified by a hand count of the ballots.

(2) IRV is not the same as "proportional representation" (PR). It is true that one method of PR involves ranked ballots, like IRV, however, IRV is used to elect one winner (e.g., in single-member districts), whereas PR is used to elect multiple winners (e.g., in multi-member districts or an at-large city council election).

Let's hope that Governor Abercrombie does NOT veto this bill.

1 comment:

  1. IRV supporters would like to pretend that a) there is nothing controversial about this method; b) it is "fair" voting; c) the results can be manually verified via a hand count; and d) Mercuri is clueless about this concept. All of this is false. First of all, it is not clear what IRV actually is, as the algorithms used to implement it differ between localities. The method is far from "fair" because it inherently causes the voter's "first choice" candidate to be disregarded if a majority (and whatever that is depends on the algorithm) is not attained on the initial counting round. And oh yes, computers WILL be used and hand counts will not be available, because it take FAR TOO LONG to hand count the rounds in anything but a small municipal election in time for the results to be certified. The whole thing is bunk. Thankfully Hawai'i decided to table the bill for the session although if the kool aid drinkers have their way, it will be baaaaacccckkkk.