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IRV may negatively impact the disabled.  An advocacy group for the disabled - "Capability Scotland" -  conducted a poll of disabled voters following Scotland's first election using voting machines and STV (a form of instant runoff voting).  Capability Scotland has a report on the blundered May 2007 Scottish election  and how IRV (or STV) impacted disabled voters. Several changes were implemented all at once, including using STV on one of the 2 ballot papers given to each voter.

A “Polls Apart” survey specifically asked respondents for their views on the 'single transferable vote' system, with 36% stating that this made it more difficult to vote.

The Single Transferable Voting System:

Made it easier to vote 16%  

Made no difference 46%

Made it more difficult to vote 36%

Not stated 3%

(from Polls Apart 5 - disabled voters' experiences in the 2007 Scottish election, Capability Scotland, 2007, P14)

In addition, a number of respondents made comments about their experiences of STV. The general feeling is that respondents found STV an additional confusion, as demonstrated by the following typical quotes:

“The whole thing was confusing - too many choices.” “Found the voting system hard.” “Confusing” “Number system for council elections was very complicated for disabled people unable to use their hands properly” “More laborious.” “I wasn't told I was only needed to number as many as I wished and could leave some blank.” “It took a few times reading it through before you could understand what to do.”

http://www.capability-scotland.org.uk/FileAccess.aspx?id=2038

http://www.capability-scotland.org.uk/FileAccess.aspx?id=2038

 

POLLS APART 5

Disabled voters’ experiences in the 2007 Scottish election

CAPABILITY SCOTLAND

 
6.3 Views on Single Transferable Voting System
One of the key issues for voters appears to have been the introduction of the single transferable voting system for local authorities. 36% of respondents said that this had made voting more difficult.
 
Table 6.2 Single transferable voting system
 

Base: all respondents

%

Made it easier to vote

16

Made no difference

46

Made it more difficult to vote

36

Not stated

3


13 respondents made unprompted comments criticising the single transferable voting system.

  1. Confusing (4)
  2. Separate sheets for each vote would’ve allowed bigger print and made instructions easier to follow (1)
  3. Number system for council elections was very complicated for disabled people unable to use their hands properly (1)
  4. Don’t think all three should’ve been done on the same day (1)
  5. More laborious; had to think, but that’s a good thing for such an important decision (1)
  6. Having the technology helped me to read the papers, although I couldn’t see if there was a section for a witness side (1)
  7. Very difficult form to understand (1)
  8. Wasn’t told I was only needed to number as many as I wished and could leave some blank (1)
  9. Took a few times reading it through before you could understand what to do (1)
  10. More difficult as you had to know about the candidates – couldn’t access as much info online (1)
  11. Had to read the instructions twice, more difficult than putting a cross in a box (1)

Only three respondents made positive comments on the new voting system:

  1. Much preferable (1)
  2. Well managed, pleasant and took me no time at all (1)
  3. Instructions for STV were straightforward and easily understood (1)
from page 17 at
 
 
Please note: We are NOT saying elections should be easy, but when professional advocacy groups like FairVote claim that IRV/STV is an easier alternative, messes like this one in Scotland and similar ones elsewhere clearly demonstrate how utterly false that claim is.  And when you consider the fact that it could make things more difficult for disabled voters, it makes IRV even worse!