Why third parties should stay away from IRV (Instant Runoff Voting)

  1. IRV (Instant Runoff Voting) leads to locked-in 2-party domination, just like the old plurality voting system. (Australia 2; Fiji; Ireland.) So if third parties think IRV will solve their problems, they are wrong. Why should they expend a great deal of effort trying to enact IRV, when it'll only gain them in the end... nothing?
  2. IRV cannot be done on old-fashioned plurality-style voting machines, but range voting can. That means, if you try to enact IRV you are going to have more trouble with transitioning than if you try to enact Range Voting. Why take a more difficult course when you can take an easier course?
  3. A very natural and logical place to start serious voting reform would be the Iowa 2008 Presidential caucuses. If you try to enact IRV there, then that will be hard because there will be some major downsides for the Democrat and Republican party officials considering this change: (1) IRV increases the risk of tied-election nightmares like in Florida 2000 (whereas range decreases that risk); (2) IRV leads to great logistical problems and time-delays as in San Francisco; Range is simple and far superior for hand calculation statewide done in precincts; (3) IRV leads to less winner-quality on average than Range. In contrast, Range voting exhibits no downside risks from the point of view of those decision makers. Why try to push a worse system on decision makers who'll want it less?
  4. Range has been proven by experiment to lead to far greater third party vote counts. That means it can realistically expect to get unified third party support. That unity leads to a far greater chance of making it happen. Don't you want unity and a greater chance of making it happen?
  5. If you enact IRV, that reform is highly likely (based on past history) to backslide in which case you'll just get plurality back again. With Range voting: we are unaware of any organization which has adopted range and then backslid. Ever. In fact it would seem massively plainly ludicrous for such organizations (the Olympics, internet movie rating services, etc) to do so.
  6. In IRV countries, third parties recognize the fact that IRV leads to 2-party domination, and want to get rid of it and replace it with Proportional Representation (PR). Some IRV advocates have the idea that IRV is a good "stepping stone" to PR (although historically, that "step" doesn't seem t happen). But in fact, PR might be unconstitutional in which case the USA cannot adopt it without a constitutional amendment – which either major party can and will singlehandedly block forever. (Actually, it probably is constitutional, but the major parties can and will block it.) Since IRV leads to 2-party domination, it cannot be a good stepping stone to PR – it will prevent PR. Range voting is far more likely to break 2-party domination and therefore is a far superior stepping stone to PR. Also, reweighted range voting (RRV and paper #78 here) is a simpler and better PR voting method than Hare/Droop STV, and Range voting is a good stepping stone to RRV.

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