Is IRV too complicated?
December 30, 2009
With efforts under way to bring instant runoff voting to my entire state of Massachusetts, I have watched the progress of IRV in Cambridge, Burlington, San Francisco and now Aspen with interest.
The May 5 election night video and written material found online raise some questions. Considering the apparent missteps and controversy surrounding that election, will Aspen continue to use IRV for future mayoral and City Council elections? If so, will private contractors again be brought in to conduct the elections?
Elections are supposed to be conducted by accountable public officials with help from local citizens, abiding by all applicable state and local laws. Despite attempts to prove that the May 5 election was conducted correctly, key factors such as believing that each published ballot string accurately comes from a legitimately cast ballot seem to ultimately require trusting a handful of insiders, including private contractors using software that makes humorous if not disconcerting sounds. Is IRV possibly too complicated to be implemented by “the people?”