The post below from a "range voting" advocate is filled with
misinsformation and distortions regarding Measure O in Oakland,
which will introduce the use of instant runoff voting to elect local
offices. For example, the range of voting advocates writes:

"Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is touted for its ability to take away
the spoiler effect that small parties can have on an election,
thereby also taking away the fear of voting for them, and giving a
realistic idea of how much support they have."

This range voting advocates apparently is unaware that elections in
Oakland are nonpartisan. The benefits of IRV in Oakland have nothing
to do with third parties, spoiling major party candidates, or
anything like that. He has set up a "strawman" that does not apply.

Then he postulates an election with the following results:

% of Voters How They Voted
37% Nader > Gore > McCain
31% Gore > McCain > Nader
32% McCain > Gore > Nader

I'm not sure what planet or parallel universe would see Ralph Nader
winning 37% of the vote in a three way race with Al Gore and John
McCain, but it's certainly not any planet or universe that any of
the rest of us live in. That's the interesting thing about all of
these critics and advocates of other methods like IRV, they always
propose these mathematical "paradoxes" that, while in theory are
interesting for mathematicians to doodle around with on their sketch
pads, in fact have no basis in reality. In the real world, these
sorts of paradoxes rarely if ever manifest themselves. It's also
possible that a meteorite will strike the Earth and wipe out life as
we know it -- though not probably likely for a few more million

This critic assails the argument that IRV will save money. He quotes
a Princeton math doctorate, trying to bring a gloss of academic
legitimacy but from a Ph.D. student who apparently knows nothing
about the costs of voting equipment or election administration. I
can tell you for a fact that in San Francisco we already have saved
a ton of money by using IRV. We spent $1.6 million for the cost of
the IRV upgrade of the voting equipment, plus about another $750,000
for the initial community education. Just in 2005 alone, we saved
the cost of a citywide election -- about $3 million -- for the
assessor-recorder race, which would have needed a December runoff
election without IRV. Not only did we save $3 million, but in a
runoff election for a very low-profile assessor-recorder race the
voter turnout would have dropped to perhaps single digits (A few
years ago, a city attorney runoff which has much more voter interest
than assessor-recorder had voter turnout of approximately 13% of
eligible voters). So San Francisco taxpayers saved $3 million by not
having to set up precincts all over the city for a extremely low
turnout election.

On and on and on, this critic's post is filled with substantial
distortions and misinformation. His opinion is unfounded on anything
we would call facts or reality.

There are other good single-winner systems out there besides IRV.
Range voting may be one of them, but it is very untested in public
elections anywhere. In any case, I fail to see why certain range
voting advocates apparently think they can advance their preferred
method by engaging in the age old winner-take-all tactic of slinging
mud at what they perceive as their "opponent" -- that is, instant
runoff voting. It's just the same old politics by another name.

Steven Hill

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