Saturday, September 11, 2010

Statewide IRV voter education?

I attended the most recent SBOE meeting on September 1st and they dealt with IRV quite a bit.   Gary Bartlett stated the special modified voter guide for IRV should cost $485,000 - that is once they figure out how folks will be doing their IRV voting around the state.  

Larry Leake mentioned that Anita Earls showed him a voter guide from Washington State that we should "steal" for our voter guide.  By "steal" I think he meant we should imitate most of it and adapt it to our situation in NC.  Because, as we all know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  

So after the meeting, I asked Ms. Earls where in Washington State that voter guide came from.  She told me it came from Peirce County.  They had one single IRV election in 2008.  

Problem is - so many people had problems with IRV and hated it after that one single time in 2008 that they turned out in record numbers and 66% voted to DUMP IRV.  

So while it may be a great voter guide, the IRV process was still a turkey for them.  Knowing all this, non-profits were still pushing IRV, and legislators didn't want to consider what would happen to our elections if we got caught in "perfect storm" and had to use IRV in a statewide election before it was properly tested? 

Could we ever properly test and evaluate IRV?  The non-profits who have been pushing IRV will claim that it works no matter how badly things turn out this November.  

No wait - we won't be able to start counting the 2nd and 3rd column races until every other election contest is settled.  With a contested election at damn near any level (city, county or state), we won't be able to tie up the ballots for a normal IRV tabulation until that contest is settled.  Or do we wait to settle non-IRV contests until the IRV race is tallied (assuming there will be no recounts)?

What is the value of the person-hours will it take in each and every county election board across the state to sort/stack and tabulate all these IRV votes?  How many person-hours will the candidates and parties (and their observers) have to spend watching each and every tabulating team at the county BOE for the weeks and possibly months it will take to tabulate IRV?  

Keep good track of your time - because the IRV "pimps' sure won't be doing that!

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