On May 20, the Ninth Circuit upheld San Francisco’s particular type of Instant Runoff Voting. The case is Dudum v Arntz, 10-17198. The opinion is 33 pages. The plaintiffs, San Francisco voters, had filed this lawsuit in 2010. The lawsuit did not challenge the constitutionality of Instant Runoff Voting in general. Rather, it challenged San Francisco’s version, which limits each voter to ranking only three candidates. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.
The attorneys for the voters who challenged the San Francisco system are the same attorneys who represent former California Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado in the lawsuits that challenge certain aspects of California’s top-two system. Maldonado intervened in those lawsuits, Field v Bowen and Chamness v Bowen, to defend the parts of California’s top-two system that do not treat all candidates equally relative to party labels, and which permit write-in space on run-off ballots but do not allow those write-ins to be counted. It is somewhat ironic that the same attorneys who attacked San Francisco’s version of IRV on the grounds that it fails to “count” the votes of all voters, are defending the top-two law that specifically says some votes can not be counted.