Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fact Checking Instant Runoff Voting guru McCarthyism claims Part 3

This is part 3 of rebutting the latest IRV Fact Check Blog by Instant runoff Voting guru Rob Richie. In the latest post the ironically named blog, IRV Fact Check, Rob Richie talks about how FairVote only played a support role for local groups promoting IRV and that IRV is good because IRV is popular with some local non profits, some local papers and 2 communities (based on exit polls). Is popularity a true measure of the worth of IRV? Where does that "popularity" come from? Excerpt from Robs so called fact check blog, emphasis in red is mine...

Joyce McCloy and McCarthyism: Her Latest Distortions
But Ms. McCloy charges that we don't care about secure elections and suggests that our "outside money" is why so many people in her state support instant runoff voting. The fact is that the two staffers we had in NC for parts of 2007-2009 were funded by an in-state foundation in the wake of a new state law establishing an IRV pilot program, and
we were in a support role to such influential reform groups as the League of Women Voters NC, Common Cause NC and Democracy NC, all of which continue to support IRV. Other in-state backers include several of the state's leading newspapers, as reflected by recent editorials in the Rocky Mount Telegram, Charlotte Observer, and Southern Pines Pilot -- and so do most voters in the two communities in the state that have had a chance to use IRV.
FairVote ensured that North Carolina's #2 top election official, Johnnie McClean, was able to travel to Scotland (to observe the May 2007 STV election) at the generosity of FairVote and Electoral Reform Society scholarship. See Johnnie McLean Email About Scotland Election and Trip also McLean Thank You Fair Vote and UK Electoral Reform Commission This is not against any law, but it certainly cost FairVote some money. Officials from Minnesota, another IRV testing ground, went on this trip as well.

Does Fair Vote accept credit for helping craft the procedures to implement instant runoff voting in North Carolina? Does Fair Vote support those procedures? I expect we'll know soon as RR says he'll have a post about that soon. What is the problem with current IRV procedures for NC?

Rob Richie argues that IRV is popular so it must be good. .

Is the Popularity of IRV relevant?

Wasn't paperless electronic voting popular with the National League of Women Voters? Wasn't Astroturf popular until we learned it increased the odds for injury to athletes? Wasn't the Ford Pinto car popular until we learned about about exploding gas tank risk? Andy Silver, a Cary NC citizen responds to Rob Richie's argument about popularity of IRV. From LWV list serve on Friday, May 21, 2010, Andy speaks-

"As for Mr. Richie's reply, his remarks about popularity of IRV are irrelevant for any serious discussion of advantages and efficacy of IRV. It is a complicated issue, and only a minuscule fraction of people are well informed about it, even in Cary, where there has been as much misinformation asinformation spread about it by its advocates.

Would anyone try to come to some conclusion about the efficacy of legislation on health care reform or regulation of financial institutions just by taking a poll on them. Would you make up your mind based on what a majority of the public think? Public opinion - almost always poorly informed - is relevant only in assessing election and legislative priorities politically, not for judging the wisdom of a proposal. Anyway, I am skeptical about the polls conducted in Cary at the behest of Fairvote or its allies. There were serious methodologicalproblems with the polling."
Popular? But not so safe. Consider what the the State Board of Elections said about hardware and software issues with IRV in a March 6, 2007 meeting:

"We can use November 2007 as a pilot and not use IRV in May 2008 because it poses too much of a risk."

The NC Coalition for Verified Voting was launched because no one else would take up the issue of black box voting. Some groups later become involved to a degree, thankfully, but most only after the Carteret 2004 fiasco. Citizens did 99.99% of the work. Thanks to citizens' hard work, the North Carolina's Public Confidence in Elections Law was introduced and passed, and is considered a model in our nation.

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