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Washington State: Pierce County to vote on IRV in November referendum

The Tacoma News Tribune reports: Come November, Pierce County voters will decide a smorgasbord of proposals to remodel county government, including making the job of sheriff an elected position, adopting a different way to elect some county officials and bolstering property rights.

In a series of votes, the Charter Review Commission on Saturday decided to send nine of 15 possible changes to the county’s constitution to voters on the Nov. 7 ballot. ...

The commission also adopted a proposal to use a different system for electing all county officials except for judges and the prosecuting attorney: instant runoff voting. Under that system, voters would cast ballots allowing them to rank all candidates for an office in their order of preference. -- Charter changes now up to you | TheNewsTribune.com | Tacoma, WA

Hat tip to Rob Richie for the tip.


It would be interesting to combine IRV with web-assisted voting. Here's how it might work:

Before going to the polls, a voter could check into a website where they would be able to:
(a) check their voter registration
(b) get directions to their polling place
(c) print a bar-coded quick check-in card to use when they arrive at their polling place
(d) prepare and print their ballot

The ballot would be prepared using an interactive online application that allowed a voter to rank the candiates and review their choices. The voter could then print this ballot, bring it to the polling place, and submit it as their completed ballot. (Again, it would use bar coding or similar technology to allow it to be accurately read by machine.)

Note the process of filling out a ballot using a website would be optional: if a voter didn't do this in advance, they could still do it at the polling place. Note also that to prevent fraud, a voter would have to go to the polling place to actually cast their ballot. In addition, to prevent vote buying/intimidation, etc., a certain percentage of voters arriving at the polls with pre-completed ballot (approx. 2%) would be randomly selected to "confirm" their ballot by requiring them to re-doing it at the polling site. All other voters would have the option of discarding their pre-completed ballot and preparing a new one. Under this system, when a voter re-does their ballot, it would be impossible for a third person to tell if it was a required or voluntary decision, and this would prevent third parties from attempting to use coercion or other means to influence the choice on the ballot that a voter bought to the polls and submitted in the ballot box.

Here are some of the advantages of this system:

- Assists voters to get to their proper place of polling.
- Allows a voter to prepare a ballot in advance, greatly increasing convenience and reducing lines at the polling place
- Cuts down in the # of electronic voting machines needed at the polling place, saving costs
- Uses standard computer equipment to prepare a ballot, also saving costs
- Produces a voter-verified paper trail
- As resistant to fraud as the existing voting system, including voter fraud and vote buying/coersion

If you support IRV, it means you don't know voting math.

It's mathematical, it isn't like you can have an opinion about it.

IRV fails some of the most common sense requirements for an ideal voting system, most importantly, monotonicity.

How can anyone possibly explain to the voter that sometimes they don't want to be honest when they vote, and should make their #1 into #2.

The monotonicity requirement obviates the need to explain that to the voters, which is the most fundamental thing for a voting system, as far the making it easy for the voters goes.

A comparison of methods.

Ask any serious mathematician!

I am not a professional mathematician, and I can't tell you what the very best system is, but there are many systems that are better than IRV, for precision (the ultimate test) and for voter ease (a practical test).

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