Keep it simple, vote against IRV |

Keep it simple, vote against IRV

Dear Editor:

There are scores of unvoted mail-in ballots in the post office trash. They likely belonged to some of the 85 percent of Aspen voters who chose to sit out the 2007 election as well. Those wasted ballots reminded me of another 400-plus May election voters who, while standing in the voting booth, unwittingly became “no shows.” Their ballots were tossed in the rubbish container in the final stage of instant runoff vote (IRV) tabulation. Those 400-plus unsuspecting voters probably mistakenly believe that their ballots counted.

IRV complexity caused great confusion, mysterious “black box” tabulations, with strange software errors, and mathematical anomalies – discouraging citizen oversight. Our charter requires a “majority” vote to elect our leaders. Council, three of whom were up for re-election, corrupted the meaning of “majority” in a way the voters did not approve. That required trashing all the ballots which had no ranking for at least one of the finalists in each of the races. Most Aspen voters did not fully rank out their ballots, unknowingly taking the risk that their ballot would be tossed out, as if they had not voted.

Four-hundred and seven ballots of the 2,510 voters who voted in the council race had the same fate as the ones in the trash at the post office. (Little known is that Johnson’s 49 percent victory and Torre’s 42.5 percent victory fell short of the charter-required 50 percent majority support, thanks to IRV.)

IRV is too complicated, period. The Aspen election IRV problems are too complex for a short letter to the editor. (Visit, search on “IRV,” and you’ll find the issues, including some clever videos explaining the problems.)

Voting should be simple, with first-graders able to tally their parents’ votes. If vote tallying requires complex algorithms, we are perverting the democratic rights of the average citizen. If you’re an election geek interested in the non-monotonic mechanics and mathematical chicanery of IRV, then consider retaining IRV. If you’re a regular guy who likes transparency and simplicity, vote to return to a tried and true way to elect our leaders.

In November 2007, just 16 percent of Aspen’s electors voted in the local election. The no-shows allowed just 608 voters to select the Instant Runoff Voting method for 2,544 Aspen voters to use last May.

Don’t be a no-show! Vote NO on IRV, question 2A. Remember the 61 cents postage.

Marilyn Marks


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