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Reply #46: "The complexity of IRV ...provides increased opportunities for wholesale fraud or malfunction" [View All]

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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-05-09 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #35
46. "The complexity of IRV ...provides increased opportunities for wholesale fraud or malfunction"
Instant Runoff Voting: Looks Good--But Look Again

Stephen H. Unger
March 26, 2007
Addendum added 3/28/07

There is a significant movement in the US, spearheaded by forward-looking people, to replace the traditional plurality voting (PV) system with the instant runoff voting (IRV) system. The primary motive is to allow supporters of third party candidates with little chance of winning, to vote for these candidates while still helping to defeat whichever of the major party candidates they feel is the worst. A secondary objective is to eliminate the need for costly runoff elections when no candidate receives a majority of the votes. In this article, I will start by showing how IRV works and where its advantages lie over PV.

But the story doesn't end there. While IRV does work as advertised in some important cases, there are other situations in which it produces bizarre results. Furthermore, it will be shown that there are serious problems related to the tabulation and reporting of IRV results. I will argue that both approval and range voting dominate IRV in that they have the same advantages with fewer drawbacks.

...We cannot decentralize the ballot counting process. For example, if a ballot includesa race for a seat in the House of Representatives, then the ballots from all precincts in that congressional district must be sent to one central place to determine the IRV winner. We cannot count the votes in each precinct and forward the totals to a merging point. If the election is for a statewide position (or issue), the ballots for the entire state must go to one point. If there is even one statewide IRV race on the ballot then all ballots in the state must be processed at one location. This introduces a number of problems.

....The complexity of IRV also mandates central counting of votes and this, in turn, provides increased opportunities for wholesale fraud or malfunction. Hand counting and recounting becomes slower and more expensive.

....


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