New Vermont Governor Supports Instant Runoff Voting

Peter Shumlin will be the next Governor of Vermont.  See this story.  While he was a state legislator, he was a co-sponsor of the bill to establish Instant Runoff Voting for congressional races (S.108 in 2007), a bill that passed, but which was vetoed by then-Governor Jim Douglas.  The new Vermont Secretary of State has also been a supporter of IRV.


New Vermont Governor Supports Instant Runoff Voting — 19 Comments

  1. Great news! Looks like Vermont should be able to pass IRV in 2011. Is the legislature still IRV-friendly?

  2. IRV = THE method to elect Stalin/Hitler clones when the Middle is divided.

    Was the Middle divided in the 2 Nov 2010 election ???

    34 S–M–H
    33 H–M–D
    16 M–S–H
    16 M–H–S

    With IRV M loses

    A mere 99 of 99 votes for M in 1st and 2nd place.

    STOP IRV at ***ALL costs*** for single offices — regardless of all EVIL math MORON IRV fanatics – who are as EVIL crazy as Stalin and Hitler.

    P.R. legislative offices — nonpartisan Approval Voting for executive / judicial offices.

  3. To: MSP Nightingale [Independent Constitution], MSP Ogden [Libertarian], MSP Lightfoot [Libertarian], MSP Brown [Libertarian] and Tobin [Independent]
    From: MSP Ogle [Free Parliamentary]
    (See preliminary election results below)

    The “Coalition of Seven” rules, as implemented by
    votes of the ruling coalition, provide the guideline to
    continue on through 2014.

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    Hope you’ll join the voting, by ranking the 42 names
    for partisan office in California, to improve
    the “Coalition of Seven”.

    Again, congratulations!

    I myself ran for Governor
    of CA in 1994 with the Green Party which caused a
    big split among those not supporting ranked voting
    in multi-member districts, and that’s how Gooogle
    found its name in 1997. They picked up the big
    flame war in Usenet, and my email address was
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    California Election Results
    For Third Parties and Indeprendents Update

    Paulia Cannoli [Info. Not Avail.] wrote:

    In other news,

    California US Senate with 92% reporting, 3rd thru 6th

    Gail Lightfoot
    Lib. 119,873 1.7%
    Marsha Feinland
    P.A.F 90,529 1.3%
    Edward C. Noonan
    A.I.P. 87,636 1.2%
    Duane Roberts
    Green 86,775 1.2%

    California Governor @ 93% ? 3rd thru 6th

    Chelene Nightingale
    A.I.P. 110,302 1.6%
    Dale Ogden
    Lib. 102,678 1.4%
    Laura Wells
    Green 86,314 1.2%
    Carlos Alvarez
    P.A.F 61,084 0.9%

    [snip, comments about Nightingale … snip]
    Prop 19 lost 54-46

    for the rest see

    Simple cut and paste screws up the table and makes it a jumble and I don?t
    want to take the time to redo the table html or retype the results

    Cal Lt Gov @ 93%, 3rd thru 6th

    Pamela Brown
    Lib. 399,830 5.8%
    Jim King
    A.I.P. 130,336 1.9%
    James Castillo
    Green 110,261 1.6%
    C.T. Weber
    P.A.F 80,225 1.2%

    Significant here is that 3rd thru 6th added up to more than the margin of
    victory that will send prop 14?s AbominAbel Maldonado packing. Too bad he
    can?t take it with him, though.

    Also significant is the LP result, well above 3rd through 6th in all the
    other statewide races and more than enough for ballot retention for 2012.

    Cal SOS @ 93%, 3rd thru 6th

    Ann Menasche
    Green 194,116 2.9%
    Christina Tobin
    Lib. 148,969 2.2%
    Merton Short
    A.I.P. 113,921 1.7%
    Marylou Cabral
    P.A.F 112,962 1.7%

    That gives the Greens a spot in 2012.

    Cal Atty Gen, Treasurer, Controller: 3rd thru 6th all between 1.3 and
    3.0%. Greens had 3rd place in two of those and Libertarians in one.

    So, out of the 7 statewide races Libertarians had third place in three
    races, same for Greens, and AIP had one race they got 3rd place in,
    Nightingale for Governor.

    Peace and Freedom got 2.1% for controller, so if that holds up, all four
    alt parties keep a presidential line in 2012.

    Pamela Brown, Libertarian in the LtGov race was the standout with a much
    higher percentage than any of the other statewide alt party candidates.
    * * *

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  4. IRV recently had a huge setback in Burlington–it was repealed. Don’t know if it’s recovered yet up here.

  5. *sigh*

    I would love election reform, but I wish reformers would pick something other than IRV. ANYTHING other than IRV. I’d rather keep plurality or election + runoff than go to IRV.

    Support Approval Voting, or Range Voting, or a pairwise (Condorcet) method, or a hybrid of one of the above … just not IRV. IRV is a logistical mess that builds voter distrust in the system, and produces strange incentives for voters to vote dishonestly to get a preferred result.

    I like proportional representation too, and understand that some support IRV as a “means to an end” to get PR. That is a bad strategy that won’t help get PR and will screw up single-member district elections.

  6. And not only is IRV less effective than Approval Voting, it’s also much more complicated. Finally (because it’s brought up constantly), Approval Voting does not revert to plurality through bullet voting tactics.

    French Study (2002)
    3,246 voters (80% participated)
    16 Candidates
    Average number of candidates supported: 3.15
    12% voted for only one candidate

    German Study (2009)
    967 participating
    8 Candidates
    Average number of candidates supported: 1.86

    This widespread myth of bullet voting under approval needs to end. Approval is one of two single-seat systems (range being the other) that ALWAYS allows the voter to vote for an honest favorite(s). Even more, one can quickly see the support for all candidates. The difference in support (as shown in the studies) is astounding between plurality and approval. One only needs to change the instructions on a plurality ballot to implement approval voting. It’s just that easy.

  7. Chip and Aaron — you guys just don’t get it. How POSSIBLY could you say that IRV is worse than plurality voting for multi-party democracy in a winner-take-all elections? Runoffs and IRV are clearly better — you’re simply being idealogues.

    I also think you’re dreaming if you think the kind of surveys you write about from France and Germany have any bearing on what would happen with a real election, with real campaigns and real media coverage. Just read up more on races like San Francisco’s District 6 race or the Oakland mayoral election, then imagine tenuously allied contenders (like Kaplan, Tuman and Quan in Oakland) having to ask their supporters to give them all votes that would count at the same time. No way.

    But bottom-line: get off the internet and get out there and try to persuade POLICYMAKERS and VOTERS. See if you can win. I think you’re in for a bracing shock, but prove me wrong. But note: we don’t try to get wins for IRV and PR by bashing approval voting and range voting. So you could try to get wins without bashing IRV and PR. Sadly, I’m not holding my breath.

  8. Very UN-fortunately FairVote is one on the chief outfits trying to brainwash the public into enacting IRV for single offices — esp. Prez, Guvs, Mayors, etc.

    i.e. the usual suspects (Casablanca movie, 1942) apparently want left/right extremists to get elected via IRV — as if Stalin and Hitler were not EVIL enough in World War II.

    See #1

    Of course, in this New Age of math MORONS the math in #1 above means nothing to such math MORONS — and now the dumb and dumber math super-MORONS in the brain dead know-it-all media.

  9. @Rob
    Don’t worry, we are “getting off the internet.” I just haven’t given you updates. Just be patient and you’ll have company before you know it (as long as that time is after I finish law school).

    And really? You didn’t like those studies? Repeated data wasn’t at all persuasive?

    I’ve also stood up for both cumulative voting and STV on numerous occasions. I can understand some of your offense and your point on the bashing of opposing systems. But I have real worry that discontent for IRV in practice will sour voters against other methods. And there’s evidence that IRV has not been accepted well where it’s been implemented. My scour towards IRV is really not reflexive. Even more, whenever approval voting comes up I have to waste time talking down IRV. (This happened recently when I was mediating a panel).

    To show my good spirit, even Bayesian Regret shows that IRV at least has the potential to definitively beat out plurality in performance. But this is only with honest voters. I’ll give you that not all voters are tactical. But that performance hasn’t panned out in the lower house in Australia. Though, at best, I see IRV giving back votes to the major parties. I really would like to see IRV do the job it says it can do. But it doesn’t. It would also be nice if plurality allowed for honest voting and no vote splitting. But it too does not.

    To show even more kind spirit, we all love PR– a lot. I place Douglas Amy’s Real Choices/ New Voices right with Gaming the Vote. It’s unfortunate that he’s so far off on single-seat systems. But I did like his procedures for assessing them in Behind the Ballot Box.

  10. @Rob,

    A second election to hold a runoff is better than plurality. Instant Runoff Voting, however, is not.

    IRV does not allow for summation of the ballots at the precincts, unlike nearly all other voting methods. It is logistically much more complicated to conduct an IRV election vs. most other election methods. A manual recount is not an easy task for elections with multiple candidates and millions of ballots.

    IRV treats ballots unequally. On some ballots, the first preference is viewed and the rest are ignored. On others, the first two preferences are viewed, and on others, even more. How is this fair?

    IRV does not eliminate the spoiler effect; an additional candidate can very much change who wins an election.

    IRV does not guarantee that the candidate will have a number of votes that is a majority of the completed ballots for that race. They will have a majority of the votes of the ballots remaining (whose choices have not been exhausted), but that in no way guarantees a majority of the ballots cast. Claiming that IRV will result in a “majority winner” is a bit misleading.

    IRV’s chaotic voting mathematics can have bizarre consequences:
    – a group of people raising one candidate on their ballot can cause this candidate, who would otherwise have won the election, to instead lose
    – a group of people lowering one candidate on their ballot can cause this candidate, who would otherwise have lost the election, to instead win
    – some groups of voters can get a better result (a more preferred candidate) by staying home instead of voting

    Plurality, while definitely not my favorite voting system, can at least be summed at precincts and can be hand-counted without much difficulty. In short, it doesn’t have the logistical issues of an IRV election.

    That, and IRV’s strange incentives to vote dishonestly (or simply not vote) are reasons I prefer plurality to IRV.

    FYI, I’m already doing work “off the internet.” I am gathering support for an initiative … I need to get the support first before putting it into action though.

    By the way, like you and Aaron, I like PR. I’d like to see a state have a bicameral legislature with one house of single-member districts, and another with proportional representation.

    What I don’t like is any voting system that has as many problems as IRV. I wish the effort that you put into supporting IRV could be used to support a better alternative voting method … or just support going to proportional representation. IRV is a bad “step in the right direction” because it’s bad for single-winner elections.

  11. I’d like to see a state have a bicameral legislature with one house of single-member districts, and another with proportional representation.

    The rationale for bicameral state legislatures elected by plurality disappeared with the SCOTUS “one man, one vote” decisions of the early 60s. Now you have mirror-image (redundant)houses appealing to the exact same constituencies-except in those cases where the very premises of “one man, one vote” are undermined through gerrymandering.

  12. icr — in the past, it’s true that in the past, the 2nd body of state legislatures was often determined by geography (county, township, city, etc) instead of population, and the SCOTUS decision ended that. You’re right, in most (all?) states with a bicameral legislature, the second house is essentially redundant.

    That’s why one house with single-member districts and another house with proportional representation would, in my opinion, be a better system. Each constituent still has someone who they can go directly to (the single-member district rep) but minority populations are also represented in the PR house.

    Failing that, it makes sense to go to a unicameral system. One legislator in Alaska introduced a bill for that this past year but it did not go anywhere.

  13. I can see an argument for a bicameral legislature. But I cannot see the case for having one of those chambers as single-seat districted. I perhaps give a little with Germany’s mixed-styled system. Even more, I think it’s inappropriate to have one chamber single-seat districted even when those districts are elected by approval or range voting. Single-seat systems should be left to inherent single-seat positions like governor, mayor, and president. That’s because single-seat seat districts inherently ignore a large section of voters and in aggregate distort resemblance of the voting populace.

    I’d be for a bicameral legislature with one chamber as open party-list and the other chamber as at-large districts of at least five (five would be fine). A form of cumulative voting (not my favorite, but better than single-seat systems), STV, or a proportional range/approval voting would be fine here. With this setup, each chamber still serves a unique function– one with tight proportionality and overall representation, and the other with good proportionality with local representation.

  14. NE survives since the 1930s with a ONE house NONPARTISAN legislature.

    Tyranny begins when annual elections END.

    ONE year terms to get rid of the party hacks ASAP — wave elections EVERY year until the party hacks get rational.

  15. Rob Richie,

    Plurality Voting is a bit of a red herring, since IRV usually has replaced Top-Two Runoff, NOT Plurality. TTR *is* better than IRV in some important ways.

    Also, IRV clearly picked the wrong winner in the last mayoral election in Burlington, VT. Voters rejected IRV there after using it very a short time.

    “I also think you’re dreaming if you think the kind of surveys you write about from France and Germany have any bearing on what would happen with a real election, with real campaigns and real media coverage.”

    These were exit polls set up simultaneously with REAL ELECTIONS and REAL CAMPAIGNS with REAL MEDIA COVERAGE.

    “Just read up more on races like San Francisco’s District 6 race or the Oakland mayoral election”

    I live in San Francisco and I think things were better back when we used top-two runoff instead of IRV. I make that case in this essay:

    Also, a recent poll shows that Australians would prefer plain ol’ Plurality Voting to IRV.

    But bottom-line: get off the internet and get out there and try to persuade POLICYMAKERS and VOTERS.”

    It’s difficult when your organization, FairVote, constantly spews out so much inaccurate and misleading information about the subject.

    “See if you can win. I think you’re in for a bracing shock”

    Well, IRV has been repealed recently in several of the places where it had been adopted just a short time previously. So I think you’re experiencing quite a bit of shock yourself.

    “But note: we don’t try to get wins for IRV and PR by bashing approval voting and range voting.”

    That’s nothing to brag about. If we were disseminating misleading and/or false information about those methods, I would WANT you to hold us accountable and correct us. That’s not “bashing”, it educating.

    “So you could try to get wins without bashing IRV and PR.”

    We are pointing out facts that are detrimental to a voting system that you support. Again, that’s not bashing.

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