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.

Fact Checking Instant Runoff Voting guru McCarthyism claims Part 2

This is part 2 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 said I was distorting the words of the FairVote Chair Noveselic. RR's exact phrase: "she is distorting a comment on a news article by FairVote's board chair Krist Novoselic." See Joyce McCloy and McCarthyism: Her Latest Distortions

Shouldn't Novoselic's words speak for themselves? I think so and my rebuttal includes a screen shot of Novoselic's words in Fact Checking Instant Runoff Voting guru McCarthyism claims Part 1

In Part 2 I rebut Rob Richie's inference that I spread allegations among friends of John Gideon, (nationally known voting activist) that Richie was exploiting John's death. Excerpt from Rob's blog:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Joyce McCloy and McCarthyism: Her Latest Distortions


It's hard to pick a "lowlight" from her litany of attacks on us and other backers of instant runoff voting, but I suspect it was her effort in the wake of verified voting champion John Gideon's death last year to spread the allegation among his friends that I was seeking to use his death to promote instant runoff voting. I received tearful communications asking me how I could do this, given his neutrality on the subject when iin fact my blog post featuring a tribue to him was entirely focused on a subject he and I regularly had discussed at our conferences he attended and by email: public ownership of voting equipment.

Do you see anywhere in Rob's blog proof or citations for his claims? Consider the definition of McCarythyism: McCarthyism is the political action of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence.

Where DID activists get the idea that Rob Richie was exploiting John Gideon's death. Let Rob RIchie's own words speak for themselves. See Rob Richie's "tribute" to National Voting Activist John Gideon, in the wake of John's untimely passing. Again, lets just look at his own words, I won't "help" you by telling you what they say. You figure it out. This is an excerpt.

John Gideon, R.I.P. - and the "Gideon Initiative" for citizenship ownership of our elections

For OpEdNews: Rob Richie - Writer

(Note added by author on April 29: Although FairVote promotes a range of electoral reforms, we are particularly well-known for our advocacy of ranked voting systems, particularly instant runoff voting. I've heard that some readers thought I was capitalizing on this tragedy to suggest that John Gideon was an ally on instant runoff voting

To be clear, John liked the idea of IRV, but believed that advocates should not push for implementation before certifiied equipment was ready to implement it. But this article is not about IRV. It's about another subject that John and I had several email exchanges about -- kicking private vendors out of our elections and having a publicly owned process. We both liked how Oklahoma did that years ago with its optical can equipment and New York with its equipment.

I apologize to anyone offended by this piece. I knew John a little from his coming to conferences we organized and from several email exchanges, but I did not know him in the way that so many leaders in the election integrity struggle did. I do think he might have liked the idea of a Gideon Initiative to pursue publicly owned election administration, but at this point I'm only raising the idea as part of my effort to salute his dedication.

- Rob Richie)


You can read Rob Richie's piece in full and decide for yourself. If you want to see a catalog of the many tributes to John Gideon by those in the verified voting community, see this blog below. These are tributes solely about John, what his friendship meant to them, how great contributions were. In these tributes, which include my introduction, you will see only pure tributes to John, none of which portend to speak for John.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tributes to John Gideon, RIP National Election Integrity Hero

Bottom line, Rob Richie can have his instant runoff voting, but as long as it erodes election transparency or disenfranchises certain segments of the voting population, I will continue to share news, reports, studies, and blogs about the issue. An informed public makes better decisions.

Fact Checking Instant Runoff Voting guru McCarthyism claims Part 1

Could the IRV Fact Check Blog by Instant runoff Voting guru be more misleading? Inaccurate. Wrong? Well, in a very lengthy post Rob Richie accuses me of distorting what the Chairman of FairVote said about the Election Integrity Movement. Not so. FV Chair Krist Novoselic's own words about what he calls the "election security" movement should speak for themselves.

Excerpt from Rob's latest "IRV Fact Check" blog

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Joyce McCloy and McCarthyism: Her Latest Distortions


Now in a post at several of her blogs she is distorting a comment on a news article by FairVote's board chair Krist Novoselic where he was defending IRV against typical over-the-top attacks from Ms. McCloy. The context of Krist's comment was that reformers have a lot to do in different areas of the electoral process, but in no way was he suggesting that seeking secure elections wasn't important. But once again I've already heard from some of our reform allies concerned that we don't take issues like manual audits and transparent elections seriously.


Now, here's my actual blog post, word for word, nothing excerpted:
Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pro instant runoff voting group shows how much they care about fair elections

The Chairman of FairVote took a swipe at the verified voting movement in his defense of instant runoff voting in the comment section of an MYNC news article. See Second Primaries In NC Costing Millions RALEIGH, N.C. May. 18. The comments section soon became a free-for-all, with North Carolinians and a Burlington VT citizen taking on FV chair and others to debunk pro IRV talking points.

Here is one of the comments posted by FairVote Chairman & former Nirvana band member KristNovoselic.

Whats with this "election security movement" bit? Or the joke about conspiracy?
Verified Voting, public observation of vote counts, chain of custody, audits, standards for voting systems, this is all a big joke to you? Its all just a conspiracy?

Don't try to peddle that to the folks in Carteret County where 4, 400 votes were lost in the 2004 General Election.
Don't pitch that to the voters in Sarasota Florida when there were 18,000 undervotes in the FL 13 congressional race.

It is a really really bad idea to belittle the verified voting movement in North Carolina. Folks from around the state worked hard for this law, we care about this law, and we continue to protect it today. And we will fight the outside interest money being used to eat away at the Public Confidence in Elections Law.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Introducing the IRV Fact Check Fact Check blog about Instant Runoff Voting


Welcome to IRV Fact Check Fact Check Blog. We named this blog the IRV Fact Check Fact Check blog as an alternative to FairVote's blog .

FairVote is a non profit corporation whose paid mission is to promote IRV.
In contrast, the "IRV Fact Check Fact Check Blog" is an un-funded effort by election transparency expert Joyce McCloy and other researchers. I have cataloged reports, studies and news articles about instant runoff voting and its unintended consequences for many years now. You can find much of that work at the website.

As a long time verified voting activist, I urge you to "trust yet verify",
look for independent verification of the claims you see on this or any other websites.

If you have questions, concerns, news articles or reports, you can contact us at this email
info (at)