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Instant Runoff Voting / Ranked Choice Voting News

February 27, 2013 Minneapolis short $385,000 for 2013 elections  STEVE BRANDT, Star Tribune A new ranked-voting method used by Minneapolis costs five times more per voter than traditional voting. The city is $385,000 shy

February 13, 2013 Minneapolis' mayoral race puts test to ranked-choice voting system
by Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
"The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ended poll taxes and literacy tests," Rice said. "In some ways, I will argue that this ranked-choice voting ballot may be more complicated for some than a literacy test."
But Rice said the ballots, themselves, indicate many voters failed to follow the directions — especially in parts of the city with lower incomes and larger minority populations. In north Minneapolis, ward 5, more than 14 percent of ballots contained voter errors. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010 Instant Runoff Voting rejected by Sunnyvale, Burlington, Pierce Co, Cary. Aspen in Nov?  Update-Instant runoff voting ditched by Sunnyvale California, Cary North Carolina, Pierce County Washington, Burlington Vermont, the Utah Republican Party and even Georgetown University. Aspen Colorado (will hold another vote in Nov 2010 to make repeal binding), IRV has been controversial in San Francisco and a lawsuit was filed to try to block the limited pick 3 style IRV. The list grows.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 Aspen Instant Runoff Voting--Up for Repeal in November 2010 Instant runoff voting is on its way out in Aspen Colorado says Glass Ballot Box - an election transparency blog based out of Aspen. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010 Burlington VT to North Carolina-Instant Runoff Voting is a pig in a poke!  Burlington voters at the Repeal IRV blog have a message to North Carolina media: beware of the IRV pig in a poke that is being sold to you.North Carolina media, you are being pawned by special interests.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 7 Ways Instant Runoff Voting Undermines North Carolina Verified Voting law

Monday, May 24, 2010 The continuing cost of Instant Runoff Voting in Minneapolis $244,000

Monday, May 24, 2010 Sunnyvale CA scraps Instant Runoff Voting for selection of Mayor! Sunnyvale's City Council says "no more" to instant runoff voting after using it for first time since adopting it. The council said that IRV was "too complicated for the public to understand".

Sunday, May 23, 2010 Instant Runoff Voting does NOT empower communities of color and may harm them  The latest false claim about instant runoff voting is that it magically "empowers communities of color". That is what the New America Foundation is claiming in a opinion piece piece listing Blair Bobbier as author. But Bobbier does not provide any documentation to support his claims, and I can provide you documentation to refute them. 

Friday, May 7, 2010 DA launches probe into Aspen Instant Runoff Voting Election  One year after Aspen Colorado's first and only instant runoff voting election, the complaints roll in

Friday, May 7, 2010 New complaints filed in Aspen CO instant runoff voting election-city hires atty  Aspen's May 5 2009 instant runoff voting election is in news again -new criminal & civil complaints
Criminal complaint alleging laws broken when Aspen conducted their first IRV election

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 Do mail-in elections and instant runoff voting erode confidence in Aspen elections? A writer from Pitkin Co Colorado says that though mail-in elections and instant runoff voting are touted as cost savers, they erode the creditability of elections. More is less  

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 S.F Instant runoff voting survives court challenge, its ok if your vote doesn't count

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 S.F. instant-runoff voting upheld
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer ...But U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg said Friday that the three-candidate restriction, which was the focus of the legal challenge, doesn't take away anyone's vote and avoids the confusion that might ensue if voters were asked to rank every candidate on the ballot...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 San Leandro City Councilmember says push for IRV came from special interests

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 San Leandro deadlocks on ranked choice voting ordinance

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 Rob Richies latest instant runoff voting promo in "tribute" to Granny D

Thursday, April 1, 2010 Rebecca Mercuri to Rob Richie Re: Census Count and Instant Runoff Voting

Friday, March 12, 2010 Green San Francisco Supervisor switches party-if only SF had instant runoff voting -oh wait they do

Thursday, March 11, 2010 Oakland League of Women Voters opposes more voter ed on instant runoff voting

Monday, March 8, 2010 Were the Oscars rigged? Did instant runoff voting decide the election?

Monday, March 8, 2010 Fractured democracy in Sri Lanka - if only they had instant runoff voting. Oh wait, they DO. Sri Lanka has used instant runoff voting to elect its president since 1978. yet the current president is acting as a dictator.

Friday, March 5, 2010 Burlington voters to mayor:the election is over! Instant runoff voting repealed Mayor Bob Kiss hasn't accepted reality yet. Instant runoff voting was repealed by Burlington voters on March 2, 2010. 52% of the voters voted to Repeal IRV. Many of the pro IRV group have accepted the results. That makes sense given that the pro-IRV campaign called itself 50% matters

Thursday, March 4, 2010 They ditched instant runoff voting - Burlington, Aspen, Cary, and Pierce CO ... Aspen Colorado, Cary North Carolina, Pierce County Washington, Burlington Vermont, the Utah Republican Party and even Georgetown University. San Francisco may be next as people get fed up and even now a lawsuit has been filed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 Marginal mayhem- Instant runoff voting results baffle UVA students University of Virginia students were confused by the results of recent instant runoff voting election for student body. Strangely enough, the candidate with the most 1st and 2nd choice votes lost. Even the winner of the UVA's IRV election didn't understand the results.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 Instant Runoff Voting Repealed by Burlington VT voters IRV repealed. Burlington voters repealed instant runoff voting today. The votes are still unofficial but not likely to change before certification. Burlington has used instant runoff voting (IRV) to elect the mayor since 2006
...Sandy Baird on @Ch_17 re: IRV.
"I'm perfectly happy with the time tested system, and I'm perfectly happy we're back to it."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 Burlington Voters Repeal Instant Runoff Voting VPR news

Sunday, February 28, 2010 My Turn: If Bob Kiss is for IRV, I'm against it
By Alden Brown • ...While the Burlington Telecom web of deceit unraveled before the city's eyes, the mayor (in a fashion reminiscent of Rome's emperor Nero) was fiddling at a feel-good "conference" just a snowball's throw from the Winter Olympics 

Sunday, February 28, 2010 Dean and Sanders Instant Runoff Voting FAIL

Dean and Sanders don't know the facts on instant runoff voting, says blogger BurlingtonPol. And Dean commits a major gaff:




Sunday, February 28, 2010.  Will Burlington eliminate Instant Runoff Voting on March 2? Citizens speak out

Sunday, February 28, 2010. Burlington instant runoff voting:-If you didn't vote for Kiss or Wright, then you didn't vote??Say what? Repeal IRV Blog says that even the instant runoff voting experts admit some votes just don't count

Sunday, February 28, 2010. Instant Runoff Voting Interviews at Burlington City Hall - fascinating (video)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 Burlington IRV draws outside money The group fighting to retain instant-runoff voting for mayor in Burlington, 50 Percent Matters, is funded largely by non-Burlington groups.

About 78 percent of the $14,819 the group has raised comes from sources from outside Burlington. That includes $5,000 from the nonprofit advocacy organization Vermont Public Interest Research Group and $6,500 from Fairvote, a Takoma, Md., group that supports election reform.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 National Group FairVote $ Promoting Instant Runoff Voting - outside influence on local elections ...Learn more about outside groups' dollars spent on lobbying for instant runoff voting in Davis, CA., and Burlington VT, Minneapolis MN, Pierce Co WA, and Oakland CA.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 Misleading Claim that Pres.Obama Supports Instant Runoff Voting Is there any evidence that President Obama supports or endorse instant runoff voting (IRV)? The answer is NO, there is no evidence that PRESIDENT Obama supports IRV.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 Why San Francisco's instant runoff voting does not allow ranking of all candidates The Million Dollar question still unasked is: WHY DOESN'T SAN FRANCISCO ALLOW VOTERS TO RANK ALL CANDIDATES THAT ARE ON THE BALLOT? The short answer is paper ballots.

Sunday, February 7, 2010 Instant Runoff Voting in Oakland- a stimulus package for political consultants? The City of Oakland has just adopted IRV and now is considering doubling the campaign donation and spending limits since they will have "one election" rather than two.

Sunday, February 7, 2010 Instant runoff voting method challenged in San Francisco, the substance of the case A suite against San Francisco's method of instant runoff voting was filed last week...San Francisco's novel system violates the constitutional rights of voters because it arbitrarily and illegally extinguishes a voters right to vote once his or her three ranked candidates are eliminated from contention...

Sunday, February 7, 2010 Instant runoff voting: The power over the ballot box, in Aspen There's a new kind of black box voting - its called instant runoff voting. Aspen Colorado's experiment with this controversial election method last year brought added scrutiny to the city's election process. The results of Aspen's May 5, 2009 instant runoff voting election raised lingering questions reminiscent of the famous Hunter Thomas' "Freak Power Campaign" for sheriff in 1970.

Saturday, February 6, 2010 Vote YES on question #5  Want to repeal IRV? Then vote YES!
Let's keep voting simple. Repeal IRV is a non-partisan citizens group based in Burlington, Vermont

Friday, February 5, 2010 Group sues to stop instant runoff elections in San Francisco, hearing 3-12 

Sunday, January 31, 2010 Instant runoff voting decision for San Leandro - IRV lobbyist at Mayor's hotel room ...San Leandro's incumbent Mayor Santos had alot of help making his decision thanks to an IRV lobbyist who was in his motel room while Santos participated in a City Hall meeting via teleconference. "Santos even had New America's director, Steven Hill, in his hotel room in the nation's capitol as Tuesday night's meeting headed towards two in the morning Eastern time. ...Santos participated in Tuesday's meeting byteleconference from Washington, D.C."

Sunday, January 31, 2010 Instant runoff voting for US Presidential Election - not feasible in real world ...Bobier holds up Ireland's Presidential office and election as an example to the US. But there is no comparison at all! ..How on earth would you administer and count a nationwide IRV election? IRV is not additive. There is no such thing as a "subtotal" in IRV. In IRV every single vote may have to be sent individually to the central agency. How is this even feasible? A national IRV election would make Bush v Gore seem a walk in the park.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 Instant Runoff Voting met campaign finance snag in San Francisco Cities considering Instant runoff voting should examine their charters for campaign finance laws and laws regarding majority requirements...The problem is a section of the city's campaign and government conduct code, which mirrors a provision in state law, prohibiting candidates from making independent expenditures to support or oppose other candidates. 

Sunday, January 3, 2010 Burlington: press conf on repealing instant runoff voting (Video) Update on petition to repeal instant runoff voting in Burlington Vermont. The citizens have enough signatures to force an up or down vote this March 2010.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 ASPENISTAN MAYOR HOLDS ASPEN BALLOTS HOSTAGE PT 2 (video) Another lampoon of Aspen's May 2009 Instant Runoff Voting election and questions about public's quest to view the ballots

Thursday, December 31, 2009 Las Vegas city council won't gamble on instant runoff voting Another city says NO to instant runoff voting

Thursday, December 31, 2009 Instant runoff voting: You must act now! Sale ends Sunday. Journalist Bob Patterson writes about instant runoff voting's lack of transparency, and figures that voters are so used to election fraud that they just don't notice or don't care. Bob also zeros in on the heavy handed sales pitch used to promote IRV.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 San Francisco-The Worst-Run Big City in the U.S. if only they had instant runoff voting Oh wait they DO

Monday, December 21, 2009 Experts rebut Gautam Dutta instant runoff voting piece in LA Daily Times Instant runoff voting doesn't do all that Gautam Dutta claims, say some experts...IRV advocates cite the 2005 election in San Francisco as proof of the increased turnout under IRV, but neglect to note that it was concurrent with the statewide special election called to consider a number of initiatives supported by Governor Schwarzenegger. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 Hilarious lampoon of Aspen's May instant runoff election - with video (video) Aspen Colorado's instant runoff election this May was controversial for many reasons, not just IRV. There were a lot of questionable practices employed. The portrayal of the ballot box just outside the mayor's office during early voting was not a joke. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009 Exit poll Hendersonville instant runoff voting shows mixed results Exit poll does not prove Instant runoff voting was popular in Hendersonville NC. If anything, the exit poll provided inclusive or mixed results. 322 Hendersonville voters were surveyed. Looking at the actual data, there were more than twice as many people who said that they preferred ordinary voting as said that they'd be upset not to have IRV in future elections -- so it's not as if Hendersonville is FIRED UP for IRV. As for whether IRV actually worked, obviously the exit poll doesn't go there...

Thursday, December 10, 2009 An Instant Runoff Voting Majority is not what you think ...This process of eliminating candidates and transferring their votes to the next-ranked continuing candidates shall be repeated until a candidate receives a majority of the votes from the continuing ballots." SEC. 13.102. -

Thursday, December 10, 2009 New: Instant Runoff Voting majority failure, plurality results in the US Over at Instant Runoff Voting facts vs Fiction we have updated our page about IRV's pattern of plurality results and frequent majority failure in US locales...

Monday, December 7, 2009 Rebutting Rob Richie misinfo: why evoting activists oppose instant runoff voting Instant Runoff Voting promoter Rob Richie often posts messages on the internet misrepresenting my positions regarding IRV and election integrity. Hard to believe he is a director of a well funded national organization.

December 6, 2009.  Viewpoints: 'Instant runoff' vote plagued by defects   By Tony Quinn
Special to The Bee....But this system has several major defects. First, it goes against our long history of majority rule, where one candidate must receive a majority of votes to be elected. The only way to achieve this is two elections; one in which all candidates compete, and one in which the top two face each other in a second round. This system has served
California well; voters are better informed in the runoff period as to candidate qualifications and positions. This was the case in our mayoral election in 2008...

December 5, 2009. Joe Soucheray: In the case of instant runoff voting, cheaters really do win  It was tucked away on the inside pages of the paper a few days ago, an unfortunate placement for a story so steeped in political intrigue and duplicity, alarm and fury. The supporters of instant runoff voting, the so-called Better Ballot Campaign, lost in a courtroom against Chuck Repke's opposing group No Bad Ballots, which had argued that the supporters of IRV had cheated.

And they did cheat. They were found by administrative law judges Kathleen Sheehy, Cheryl LeClair-Sommer and Barbara Neilson to have violated Minnesota election laws by knowingly making false claims for endorsement of their vote-yes position...

December 2, 2009 Judges rule: St Paul IRV group made knowingly false claims - $5K fine  St Paul pro instant runoff voting group showed a pattern of deliberate lying. So the pro instant runoff voting group with a name St Paul Better Ballot Campaign might more accurately be called "St Paul Deliberately Deceptive Campaign". Three judges say - the deception was deliberate, the perpetrators unashamed!

November 26, 2009 Minneapolis instant runoff voting - lowest turnout since 1902 Minneapolis had its first instant runoff voting election on Nov 3, and had the lowest voter turnout since 1902, well over a hundred years. This was the lowest turnout since Mayor "Doc" Ames, also known as "The Godfather of Minneapolis left office while under investigation for corruption. So much for the claim that IRV magically increases voter turnout.

November 17, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting still fails in Aspen after provisional ballots counted  Aspen should not continue using instant runoff voting, say the results after counting provisional ballots.


November 15, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting in Hendersonville Orwellian? Letter to Editor ... No friend to voters

November 15, 2009 Hendersonville: Instant Runoff Voting Process is not reliable ...To The Editor: I respect the work of the League of Women Voters. Their guest column favoring Instant Runoff Voting, however, begs several corrections...Do the results reflect the will of the people? That is the goal of every election. With IRV, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't and that is the problem.

November 15, 2009 NOV 3 INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING LOSSES - THEY TRIED IT THEY DIDN'T LIKE IT Some jurisdictions that recently implemented instant runoff voting have developed buyers remorse. They tried IRV and they didn't like what they saw.

November 14, 2009 New York, your Trojan Horse is at the gates - instant runoff voting New York's election pilots of optical scanners are being used as a trojan horse for instant runoff voting. Last week the NY Senate Elections Committee heard several suggestions to eliminate the costs of runoff elections. ...IRV advocates lobbyied for instant runoff voting "pilots", which are really just a way to get the camels nose in the tent. The claim is that New York should have no problem at all implementing IRV with new optical scan machines.

November 13, 2009 St Paul: Judge rules instant runoff voting campaign should go on trial A judge ruled that there was probable cause that the St Paul Better Ballots Campaign broke the law when sending out endorsement claims in a campaign mailer promoting instant runoff voting.

November 12, 2009 FairVote Partnership with Internet Voting Company EveryoneCounts erased after post to election integrity group Internet Voting Co. Everyone Counts touts partnership with FairVote, then webpage is scrubbed within days after made public to election integrity activists.

November 11, 2009 Radio interview on lawsuit to get Instant runoff voting in St Paul overturned

Chuck Repke from No Bad Ballots Talking about his lawsuit to get IRV in St. Paul overturned. Radio interview on KSTP November 9th.

"...they didn't have the endorsement of the DFL, and they didn't have signed permission to use Obama's name.... Its a selfish arrogant attitude that they have the right to vote for two people at the same time....they are ignoring the fact that for some people this will be difficult to do."

November 10, 2009 Pierce voters ditch instant runoff voting - save $500K for taxpayers immediately Three years ago Pierce County Washington voters adopted instant runoff voting or ranked choice voting. They were told it was the hottest thing going, they wanted it, they got it, then they hated it.  Majority of Pierce County voters reject Instant Runoff Voting on Nov 3 Instant runoff voting was rejected by an overwhelming majority of Pierce County Washington Voters. 44,145 of 64,106 voters said yes to ditching instant runoff voting, also called ranked choice voting. That is 71.76% for eliminating IRV and 28.24% who wanted to keep IRV.

November 5, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting really bad says former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown The Hon. Willie Brown, Former Assembly member and Speaker of the California Assembly, and most popular Mayor of San Francisco gives his opinion on Instant Runoff Voting (YouTube video)

November 4, 2009 Majority of Pierce County voters reject Instant Runoff Voting on Nov 3 Instant runoff voting was rejected by an overwhelming majority of Pierce County Washington Voters. 44,145 of 64,106 voters said yes to ditching instant runoff voting, also called ranked choice voting. That is 71.76% for eliminating IRV and 28.24% who wanted to keep IRV.

November 2, 2009 Instant runoff voting claims in St Paul are phony says 2nd campaign complaint The complaint is that St Paul Better Ballot Campaign violated this Minnesota state law: 211B.02 FALSE CLAIM OF SUPPORT...“I was surprised that Santa Claus and Jesus Christ weren’t on the list,” Repke says. “You can’t be more deceptive than to claim the endorsement of the President of the United States when you don’t have it. I’m just flabbergasted.”

November 2, 2009 Anti-IRV group calls claims of Obama, DFL endorsement ‘evil’
...“I was surprised that Santa Claus and Jesus Christ weren’t on the list,” Repke says. “You can’t be more deceptive than to claim the endorsement of the President of the United States when you don’t have it. I’m just flabbergasted.”

Sunday, November 1, 2009 Hendersonville Instant runoff voting: IRV is verified confusion ...Can we really justify a voting system that is confusing, difficult to calculate, prone to error and fails to count every vote? Third, fourth and more place votes aren't "backup" votes as some IRV proponents define them, they're your votes and if your vote isn't counted, it doesn't count.

October 31, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting endorsed by WHO? Misleading mailers in St Paul Complaint: Better Ballot campaign lies about support from the League of Woman Voters. Advocates for instant run-off voting have wrongly claimed to have the support of the Saint Paul or Minnesota chapters of the League of Woman Voters...

October 30, 2009 No Bad Ballots Committee files campaign grievance By Paul Demko The battle over instant-runoff voting in St. Paul is getting heated. The No Bad Ballots Committee, which is advocating against adopting the new voting system, has filed a grievance with the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings alleging that supporters of the ballot measure are knowingly making false claims in their campaign literature.

October 30, 2009 Fans, foes spar over instant-runoff voting decision in St. Paul The pro-IRV Better Ballot Campaign has mailed out literature claiming the "League of Women Voters of St. Paul and Minnesota" endorses their side.  On Thursday, the St. Paul league's co-presidents, Sigrid Johnson and Phyllis Hollihan, sent a public letter saying the St. Paul league has taken "no position" and asking the Better Ballot Campaign to correct its literature....

October 30, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting - Is it Democratic? Instant Runoff Voting - Is it Democratic? Information from an in-depth study performed on the Burlington, VT Mayoral Election by the University of Vermont's Legislative Research Shop. It answers the question which all voting systems should address - do the results reflect the will of the people?

October 30, 2009 Oakland Mayor questions instant runoff voting in Alameda County - rightly so Mayor Perata of Oakland, California is raising concerns about whether the county is ready to implement ranked choice voting aka instant runoff voting in next years elections. His opponent, City Councilwoman Jean Quan slings mud at him claiming Perata is afraid RCV would help her to win. ... IRV/RCV is complex, costly, confusing and in non partisan elections acts as incumbent protection.

October 29, 2009 San Francisco Instant runoff voting 2009 Most Boring Election Ever - incumbents always re-elected ... all the promises made about IRV never came true. We're left with paying for an expensive system that hasn't lived up to its promises. If someone is a lame nobody running for office, they still lose. Just because we played games to fit the needs of a handful of ideologues whose true agenda has yet to be revealed, doesn't mean anything is different....

October 29, 2009 INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING IS NOT RECOMMENDED BY ROBERT'S RULES OF ORDER Roberts Rules DOES NOT recommend Instant Runoff Voting. Period. What they recommend is not IRV as implemented everywhere, nor as proposed by FairVote. There is a crucial difference, and that difference is relevant...

October 29, 2009 Vote NO St Paul- Instant Runoff Voting is "More complicated, confusing and expensive" "IRV is a damaging and expensive solution in search of a problem. Vote 'no' on Nov. 3." An Op Ed by two local DFL activists and two St Paul Minnesota City Council members urges St Paul voters to vote "no" on instant runoff voting, this November 3. The group asks St. Paul voters to learn from the experiences of others who have tried IRV and found it flawed.

October 20, 2009 Hendersonville Instant runoff voting in Nov - Will your vote be counted? Surprising answer Will Hendersonville voters' instant runoff votes in the November election count or even be counted? Does Hendersonville's IRV counting method rob some voters of their say in the runoff?

October 11, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting Not So Good Polls: Cary NC, Hendersonville NC, Pierce Co WA, and San Francisco ... a significant number of voters do not understand IRV (whether they say they like it or not). While IRV might be "fun", if people don't understand it then they don't benefit from it and may have their vote count for less than other voters' ballots...

October 11, 2009 Rebutting FairVote misinfo on Cary, NC - Cary ditched IRV and is still glad ...At Cary NC's City Council meeting on April 30, 2009, Cary City Council member Don Frantz reflected on the problem with the 2007 decision. He said:"When our town agreed to IRV in 2007, it was kind of rush job..There was a lot of pushback, the public wasn’t involved …I do not like instant runoff voting and have given my reasons as to why many times. I'll take in elections over funny math and 30% voter confusion any day." ~Don Frantz, City Council member.

October 11, 2009 Open Letter to British on Instant Runoff Voting Virus - Why some US locales want to ditch it ...What Rob Richie doesn't tell Huffington Post readers is that IRV is losing support in the US as people wake up to the problems associated with it. Instant runoff voting is very controversial for good reason...

October 10, 2009 NO challengers in San Francisco 2009 Instant runoff election San Francisco is having an instant runoff voting election in November 2009, but hardly anyone is running. Both citywide offices have ONE candidate EACH. But San Francisco has to run the numbers and go through the expense of IRV anyway. Voters will see an IRV ballot for both uncontested races.

October 8, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting Video - Why Aspen's May election makes a great federal case What happens to your vote in an instant runoff voting election? Does IRV help your favorite candidate win?...

October 5, 2009 Is New York a prime guinea pig for Instant Runoff Voting now? If New York does adopt optical scan voting machines. the state is a prime guinea pig for Instant Runoff Voting experiment. At least that is what Rob Richie, FairVote director hopes.

October 4, 2009 Issues with Hendersonville's Instant Runoff Voting Pilot ...Hendersonville has not had meetings to invite public input... An exit poll (conducted using IRV advocates) said that one third of voters polled came to the polls unprepared to rank their choices, but thats ok in the minds of IRV advocates.

October 3, 2009 Hendersonville Instant Runoff Voting - presentations at retirement home, city bill-pay dept, LWV & Apple Fest The City of Hendersonville, North Carolina will be conducting its November 3 municipal election through instant runoff voting, or what they call instant runoff voting.

September 28, 2009 Which is better for minorities - Instant Runoff Voting or Traditional Runoff Elections? ...In North Carolina, in fact, minority leaders have been outspoken in their opposition to IRV and spoken in favor of traditional runoff elections. There have been several traditional runoff elections that propelled minority candidates into office.

September 27, 2009 Traditional Runoff Elections vs Instant Runoff Voting Which are better for democracy, traditional on-on-one runoff elections or instant runoff voting elections?

September 26, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting makes every vote count, RIGHT? Video with surprise ending see what happens when a few hundred Green Party voters show up at the last minute to vote.

September 24, 2009 Pierce Co will reconsider Instant Runoff Voting in November [Washington] In May of this year, the Pierce County Auditor found that IRV was costing too much and the county could save $600,000 if they scrapped instant runoff voting asap. Since 56,751 of 90,738 Pierce County Voters polled said they did not like IRV, it made sense to put the issue back to the voters in November.

September 24, 2009 Pierce Co will reconsider Instant Runoff Voting in November

September 23, 2009 Long Beach, CA to study instant runoff voting on Oct 6, significant opposition exists The City of Long Beach California will hold a study session on Instant Runoff Voting on October 6. Yesterday the City Council narrowly agreed on the measure. There is significant opposition to changing Long Beach's city charter to require IRV.

September 23, 2009 David Richie- "IRV worked let's move on" so Aspen voters just sit down and be quiet! 

September 18, 2009 IRV "might be overkill for Brattleboro," says Town Clerk

September 13, 2009 St Paul IRV tasting parties: "you might end up drinking some swill you never voted for"

September 13, 2009 Spread of IRV slowed when CA senate defeates AB 1121

September 7, 2009 Dollars spent on direct lobbying for IRV in Minneapolis MN, Pierce Co WA, Oakland and Davis, CA

August 29, 2009 Aspen WILL reconsider Instant Runoff Voting in November.
This November Aspen voters will get to vote on whether to keep or ditch instant runoff voting. Aspen voters and officials have experienced IRV first hand, the good and the bad.
Aspen's City Council has agreed to put the issue on the ballot this November- keep or ditch IRV.

August 22, 2009 Harvie Branscomb and Al Kolwicz: Guest opinion: Make computer files open to public Part of a bipartisan team of election integrity experts, we are working on ways to increase transparency and independent verification of elections. We believe that more transparency and independent verification yields more voter confidence.

August 21, 2009 Links to media- discussion of ballot release and election review The two Aspen Colorado papers and one state-wide blog have been covering the topic of the Aspen May 5 IRV election and the upcoming Aspen Election Independent Review and numerous letters to editor. Here is a perhaps not complete collection of them:

Guest Editorial August 20, 2009 in Aspen Daily News Aspen IRV Election Review The Citizens of Aspen are asking: whose election is this anyway? Does it belong to the government-- made up of the very officials who are candidates in each election? Or is it the people’s election? Apparently this question remains open in Aspen.

August 7, 2009 Slanting the exit poll of Cary's instant runoff voting election  Was the exit poll of the Cary, NC instant runoff voting slanted?

July 28, 2009 Aspen's Instant Runoff Voting election to be audited by citizens group 
Aspen's instant runoff voting election to be audited by independent group after
several things went wrong in the town's first IRV election. Harvie Brancomb, a Colorado Verified Voting Activist and Computer Expert is leading the effort to conduct an independent audit of Aspen's recent instant runoff voting election

July 27, 2009 Marilyn Marks to Aspen City Council about May 5 2009 IRV Election Instant Runoff Voting

July 27, 2009 Harvie Branscomb to Aspen City Council about May 5 2009 IRV Election Review Instant Runoff Voting

July 23, 2009 Correcting MPR "Ritchie watching IRV in Minneapolis, other states" - North Carolina info is WRONG
MPR has some facts wrong in a recent story on Instant Runoff Voting.
NPR cites Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie as saying that 10 cities in North Carolina are experimenting with IRV

July 22, 2009 Aspen to reconsider Instant Runoff Voting this November - City Council cite problems with May election ...Yesterday, Aspen Colorado City Council members agreed to put instant runoff voting on the ballot after discussing problems with the IRV election this past May. City Council members cited a lack of confidence in the voting method, the tallying, and desire to have more time to compare the field of candidates.

July 7, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting Leads To 2 Party Rule Wherever Used  The claim that Instant Runoff Voting helps third parties is false. In fact, we know from studying the countries and jurisdictions that use it, IRV entrenches the two party duopoly and prevents weak third parties from gaining strength.

July 4, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting Virus Aimed at Virginia More Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) propaganda, this time aimed at the state of Virginia.

June 29, 2009 Correcting New America Foundation Instant Runoff Voting Misinfo
Note to City of San Jose: The New America Foundation misreported the popularity of instant runoff voting in North Carolina.

June 27, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting too Costly - Pierce County WA Says Ditching Would Save $600,000  IRV, Instant Runoff Voting - does NOT save money. In fact, the Pierce County Washington Auditor has recommended ditching IRV in order to save the county money. Savings would be at least $600,000.

June 22, 2009 San Francisco to put Instant Runoff Voting out of its misery? A possible repeal of Instant runoff voting was discussed by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce at a meeting last Thursday, June 18th.

June 17, 2009 Fact Checking FairVote NC blog about Instant Runoff in North Carolina FairVote NC's blog misreports the status of instant runoff voting in North Carolina. In their June 17th blog they boast of how Hendersonville North Carolina volunteered for the IRV pilot again (that bit is true) but FairVote wrongly claims that the Town of Cary is considering IRV for 2009

June 11, 2009 Minnesota Supreme Court Says IRV OK, Minnepolis to get its "free pony" now Today Minnesota's Supreme Court said OK to instant runoff voting. The MN Supreme Court turned away a "facial" challenge to Minneapolis' voter-approved Instant Runoff Voting system....Read on for news and analysis

June 11, 2009 Court Rules IRV Constitutional? Not Quite blog... The Minnesota Supreme Court side-stepped the constitutional issue by ruling that because the lawsuit was making claims about what could happen or might happen in the future, and not about things that have happened, that the plaintiffs didn’t prove their case. 

In other words, they effectively dismissed the case because there was no actual election from which to derive facts and show that an actual disenfranchisement occured.  The ruling was based on a flimsy technicality

June 10, 2009 The Truth About Instant Runoff Voting - It Does Not Work As Advertised and Here is Proof Instant Runoff Voting does not work as well as advertised, and has unintended consequences . Promises that IRV will save money, reduce negative campaigning, simplify elections, or provide a majority all in one election - are just not true

June 9, 2009 Single Transferrable Vote Defeated Fair and Square in BC - Pro and Con Groups Funded by Provincial Govt Equally ...The provincial government gave $500,000 to two groups, British Columbians for BC-STV (aka Fair Voting B.C.) and No STV, which ran the official “yes” and “no” campaigns for this year’s referendum.

June 8, 2009 Places that Have Ditched Instant Runoff Voting or are Moving to Ditch It 

June 8, 2009 Avoiding the Instant Runoff Virus in the Virginia Gubenatorial Primary I read David Swanson's blog on the VA Gubenatorial primary over at DailyKos. He mentioned that it's essentially a three way race, and asked how to deal with that.

June 6, 2009 Instant Runoff Virus hides campaign cash! Well I have to admit that I was wrong about Minneapolis doing proper due-diligence on IRV before they pushed it. Here's a story where even IRV supporters say that they made a mistake.

June 6, 2009 Think Hoboken is "hot" now? The voters will be steaming if they catch the Instant Runoff Virus!  City Council passes resolution asking the NJ legislature to pass a bill creating an IRV study commission. Blogger Chris Telesca cites rebuttal to cost cutting claims.

June 5, 2009 Instant Runoff Virus errors found in Aspen vote totals They incorrectly used Cambridge voting rules and software in Aspen...It took two weeks to detect these problems. But what about the fact that TrueBallot was allowed to use the wrong software for the job? How come no one in Aspen made sure the correct software was being used before hand?

June 4 Aspen City Council Race---Non-monotonicity Examined On-going debate about the Aspen Colorado Instant Runoff Voting election. 

June 3, 2009 Unholy Alliance of Instant Runoff Group and Internet Voting Vendor

June 2, 2009 Minneapolis gets ready to return to primary elections in case they lose their IRV suit!

June 2, 2009 The end of the beginning: Bradblog calls IRV an "election virus"!

June 2, 2009 Star Trek Captain Explains Instant Runoff Voting in Video

June 1, 2009 Aspen Instant Runoff a Lemon? IRV Leaves Bitter Aftertaste

May 30, 2009 Fayetteville NC turns down Instant Runoff Voting

May 29, 2009 IRV Carpetbaggers target Nebraska, South Carolina papers - misinfo abounds

May 27, 2009 American Idol is like IRV - which is like Fizzbin!

May 27, 2009 How American Idol is like IRV!

May 26, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting is alot like Fizzbin

May 24, 2009 IRV advocates don't talk about Cary, North Carolina any more

May 24, 2009 Minneapolis drank the instant runoff voting kool-aid, now they are sorry

May 23, 2009 Minnesota IRV elections may take month to count - not so instant after all

May 23, 2009 Has the Aspen Election Commission certified the May IRV elections?

May 23, 2009 Was Aspen Colorado Election a South Park Plot? Pulling Votes Out of Asspen

May 23, 2009 Votes aren't the only things being pulled out of someone's "Asspen"!

May 20, 2009 "Street Football" or how they crossed the threshold by pulling votes out of their "Asspen"!

May 18, 2009 Aspen IRV makes my head hurt!

May 18, 2009 Public Hearings are a good thing - so why are IRV advocates afraid of them?

May 15, 2009 Crushing defeat for Single Transferable Vote (STV) in British Columbia

May 9, 2009 Only one IRV in NC for 2009!

May 7, 2009 Aspen Instant Runoff Election - spoiled ballots, voter confusion, corners cut

May 6, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting Retreats in North Carolina Yesterday was the deadline for any North Carolina jurisdictions to volunteer for the Instant Runoff Voting Pilot. Cary, North Carolina will not a volunteer for IRV this year.

May 2, 2009 Instant Runoff? No. Cary votes to keep traditional runoff elections

May 2, 2009 Cary News: In our opinion: IRV too risky

April 29, 2009 Instant runoff voting is a trojan horse - letter by Voting activist to Cary Town Council

April 27, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting, Single Transferrable Vote, Ireland and Failed Political System

April 8, 2009 Durham Community Leader says NO to Instant Runoff, warns of legal action

April 8, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting driven by Political Narcism in Cary, North Carolina?

April 7, 2009 Durham council rejects both plurality and IRV!

March 31, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting violates citizens' rights

April 1, 2009 Instant Runoff is a national issue, case presented under US Constitution

March 23, 2009 Fake Instant Runoff Voting for Hendersonville NC in 2009? No One Asked the Voters Yet

March 22, 2009 Will Instant Runoff Voting be forced on Hendersonville Voters without Public Hearing?

March 23, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting dealt setback by Minnesota Democrats DFL The most influential political party in Minnesota has done major damage to the Instant Runoff Voting cause.

March 19, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting Case Fast Tracked to Minnesota Supreme Court

March 17, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting at its worst in Burlington Vermont

March 16, 2009 Why don't they ask people if they would prefer IRV when it costs more than traditional elections and runoffs?

March 15, 2009 Burlington Instant Runoff Election riddled with pathologies

March 14, 2009 Report on the 3/12/09 Cary Town Council Public Hearing on IRV

March 14, 2009 Cary North Carolina turns down second bite of Instant Runoff Voting Pilot, process still too flawed

March 11, 2009 Instant Runoff Not the Answer. Plurality is only way to avoid second election says Durham BOE

March 8, 2009 Instant Runoff Voting re-elects mayor who 71% voted against

March 7, 2009 No Majority Winner in Instant Runoff Voting election in Burlington Vermont Mayoral Contest

March 7, 2009 Instant Runoff helps re-elect incumbent in Burlington Vermont Mayoral Contest 

March 4, 2009 2nd IRV election in Burlington VT does not result in a majority winner!

February 21, 2009 Traditional runoff elections are more democratic even at UNC-CH!

February 21, 2009 Georgetown University ditches Instant Runoff Voting - cites problems

February 11, 2009 Does Instant Runoff Voting Cause Lower Voter Turnout? Takoma Park Marland. home of Fair Vote Director Rob Richie.  The activist city that didn't vote  Will there ever be enough candidates in a Takoma Park election triggerInstant Run-off Voting? by Tamra Tomlinson 12/07/2007

October 11, 2008 Instant runoff snag: San Francisco's voting machines STILL not approved  This is the most recent or current update on San Francisco's voting machine situation....   
San Francisco entered into a $12 million contract with Sequoia voting systems, in order to replace other equiptment that failed to standards and to automate the counting of the Instant Runoff ballots. It looks like San Francisco still cannot use its brand new voting systems, purchased especially for their "IRV" capability.

October 8, 2008 Instant Runoff Lawsuit Heads to Court in Minnesota The Minnesota Voters Alliance's lawsuit heading to Hennepin County Minnesota District Court argues that Instant Runoff Voting is unconstitutional.

September 18, 2008 San Francisco Election Looms, Voting Machines Not Yet Approved for Instant Runoff

September 14, 2008 Instant Runoff Voting: Not Saving Money & Politics Nasty As Usual In San Francisco Four years later, we hear that IRV still hasn't saved San Francisco money, in fact it is costing money, and politics is as nasty as ever...IRV/RCV/WTF's many promises have mostly been proven false as the system has been implemented. Campaigns are NOT nicer, the top vote getter on Election night wins anyway, incumbents are ensured re-election (thus essentially giving all elected officials 8 year terms) and the crowded podium at debates and in news coverage ensures that the discussion of complex city policy is reduced to 15 and 30 second soundbites....

September 14, 2008  Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) and racial minorities ..It has sometimes been stated (falsely) by IRV-propagandists, that IRV helps minorities. But in fact, the available evidence indicates it hurts them....

September 6, 2008 Letter from San Francisco: Politicos turning against Instant Runoff and Politics are nasty as ever

September 6, 2008 Asheville North Carolina "Claims favoring Instant Runoff Voting don't hold up

August 29, 2008 North Carolina: Instant Runoff Voting is no solution, says election official who was there

August 18, 2008 Instant Runoff North Carolina: There Is No IRV Software For North Carolina's Voting Machines

August 17, 2008 Instant Runoff: Messing Up North Carolina Elections and Efforts to Reduce the Damage

July 23, 2008 Is Instant Runoff Voting Hurting Minorities in Fair Vote's Home Town?

July 17, 2008 Instant Runoff - If I Were Crazy, I'd Count Votes THIS Way Since North Carolina passed the Public Confidence in Election Law, its been harder to mess up the vote. But then came the boutique style, rube-goldberg-esque Instant Runoff Voting. A creative way to complicate voting

July 17, 2008 News and Observer: Instant runoff voting well intentioned but expensive   A costly change

July 11, 2008 Instant Runoff Can Hurt Your Preferred Candidate, North Carolinians A Critical Failure of Instant Runoff Voting – hurting your preferred candidate by voting for him. Also called non-monotonicity

July 9, 08 Instant runoff update: EAC/federal agency unlikely to certify any voting systems before November and there are no federally certified IRV voting systems.

July 3, 08 San Francisco Grand Jury Report:  poll workers and voters do not understand instant runoff, voting machines not yet certified.... Grand Jury Report, Our blog

June 28, 2008 Instant Runoff and Gutting North Carolina's Verified Voting Law - 8 Bad Things IRV Does to NC Public Confidence in Elections

June 28 Press Release: Instant runoff reform threatens NC's Verified Voting law

June 27, 2008 Raleigh N&O: Instant runoff voting poses problems

June 24, 2008 Instant Runoff was a disaster in Cary North Carolina

Pierce County, Washington:  The Secretary of State of Washington granted "emergency" permission in May 2008 for Pierce County to use uncertified software on Seqouia machines, even though flaws were found in the WinEDS (central tabulating system). Touchscreens were certified on an emergency basis, but not the precinct optical scanners. All optical scan ballots will be hauled off to the county office to be tabulated.

St. Paul advised not to consider instant-runoff election system
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN - Jun 18, 2008 A lawsuit filed by the Minnesota Voters Alliance, an opposition group, is pending. Minnesota's attorney general last year noted problems with instant-runoff ...
A well-advised 'whoa' on IRV Pioneer Press

June 18, 2008 Instant Runoff Voting Not Constitutional says St. Paul MN City Attorney - not obligated to place the proposed IRV charter amendment on ballot

June 17, 2008 Kathy Dopp and Experts Deconstruct Instant Runoff Voting, rebutting the rebuttal  Fair Vote's "debunk" of Kathy Dopps' report on IRV is now itself - "debunked"

June 14, 2008 Instant Runoff Voting - Good or Bad for North Carolina?

June 14, 2008 Worriesome realities mar instant runoff in North Carolina

Minneapolis issued a RFP for Instant Runoff Voting equipment.  The bids are due by August 1, 2008. The City of Minneapolis issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for services and equipment needed to conduct municipal elections using the method of Single Transferable Vote, sometimes known as Ranked Choice Voting or Instant Runoff Voting.

Douglas vetoes campaign finance, instant-runoff voting bills ... By Dave Gram Associated Press Writer / April 4, 2008
MONTPELIER, Vt.—Gov. Jim Douglas on Friday vetoed the Legislature's latest effort to limit the influence of big money in politics, as well as an instant-runoff voting bill....Douglas contended the instant-runoff voting measure would violate the principle of one person, one vote enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, by allowing voters who's first choice for an office didn't win to have their second choices counted.
Only 30000 ballots left ... - SAN FRANCISCO  - Nov 12, 2007. Only a few San Francisco measures are still at stake as dozens of vote counters work 16-hour days “remaking” tens of thousands

...San Francisco’s ranked-choice voting system has always created problems when voters leave a choice blank. The machine spits the ballot back out and elections workers count the ballot by hand. Arnzt calls that an undervote.

This year, because undervotes are also caused by marking ballots with an inappropriate pen, Secretary of State Debra Bowen is requiring San Francisco election workers to fill out or “remake” a replica ballot by using a leaded pen that can be recognized by an optical scanner.

Five counties may use contested voting machines in February   Associated Press, 12/11/07  (SACRAMENTO, (AP) -- California's secretary of state will let five counties use their electronic voting machines in the February primary election, despite her claim that the machines were sold without proper certification. Secretary of...
Wyatt Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/05/07  Advocates for complete transparency in the inner workings of voting machines have found a sympathetic home in San Francisco - but they ran into a brick wall at City Hall on Wednesday. A Board of Supervisors committee took the city a step closer to buying...
Wyatt Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/05/07 San Francisco officials missed a deadline Tuesday to certify the outcome of the local Nov. 6 election after a partial check found too many errors in the tally of absentee ballots run through the city's electronic voting machines. Instead, city officials...
S.F. lawsuit accuses Nebraska vote machine vendor of fraud
John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/21/07
Election Systems & Software's legal problems continued to pile up Tuesday when San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued the Nebraska voting machine vendor, alleging fraud, breach of contract and a variety of other offenses. In the suit, filed in San...
Election Results Show Newsom at 74% -- Beyond Chron. Nov. 16‚ 2007 --Paul Hogarth. In the final days of the Election, Newsom told voters to "make it simple for themselves by just voting for one choice for mayor." And that's what many of his supporters did. With virtually all Election Day votes counted, the Mayor currently stands at 73.67%.

Supervisors moving ahead on buying new voting machines Wyatt Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/15/07

San Francisco supervisors are moving forward with a contract to purchase new voting machines, a move that would forestall a February repeat of the slow tally of the Nov. 6 election but that isn't likely to satisfy advocates for unfettered public review of..."The thing is, the other option is so unattractive that this might smell better, but I don't think it's really going to do what we're asking," said Supervisor Tom Ammiano. "Things have to be public, not just semi-public."

Was There an Election?  11 Nov 2007 by Ray Lewis  
San Francisco is the northern hub of one of the world's most demanding arenas for success in leadership, so why did Gavin Newsom have no true competitors in his renewal bid as the city’s CEO? 

In 2003, Newsom was elected from a field of six candidates, all of whom had served at high levels of city government.  Newsom won a spirited run-off race by fewer than four percentage points.

This year Newsom was opposed by a homeless cab driver, a florist, a music professor, two bloggers, a nudist, a showman named “Chicken John,” and a sex club owner, according to Wednesday’s edition of SF Gate...

In S.F., Prop. A pulls ahead; E and F too close to call; H failing John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/09/07  San Francisco's vote count is going faster than predicted, but state-ordered restrictions on the city's aging voting machines are still playing havoc with the tally in the mayor's race. "We're ahead of what we projected," said John Arntz, the city's
Ranked-Choice Voting and Flawed Ballots Tax San Francisco's Election  By Kat Zambon Nov 08, 2007 ..."Voters also questioned the value of ranked-choice voting...There are a lot of people who only mark one [candidate] or the same person three times.."I don't want to vote for a second one, I want this one."
San Francisco Declares Voting Machine Maker in Breach of Contract
KCBS, CA - Nov 7, 2007
The ESS machines were not properly equipped to handle ranked choice voting, and so far have rejected 94 percent of the ballots cast, requiring manual processing, said Elections Director John Arntz....
San Francisco seeks reimbursement for election problems
San Francisco Chronicle,  USA - Nov 7, 2007
By RACHEL KONRAD, AP Writer San Francisco wants the nation's largest elections systems vendor to reimburse the city because of problems during Tuesday's
Counting S.F. ballots will take a record amount of time John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/06/07  San Francisco's election for mayor went surprisingly smoothly Tuesday, if you don't count the two weeks or more it's likely to take to tally all the ballots and come up with a final result...And because an astounding 94 percent of the absentee ballots processed by Monday had to be remade because voters didn't list three choices for mayor, it has taken a lot of time.
Election Day 2007
6 Nov 2007 by Rob  
Not to denigrate the candidates, but I really doubt that any of the “alternate” candidates are capable of running a city the size of San Francisco. What would any of the alternate candidates do if they actually won the election?
Record-low voter turnout predicted for San Francisco election
San Jose Mercury News,  USA - Nov 5, 2007
Political operatives predict turnout for this year's election could dip as low as 25 percent. By comparison, more than 74 percent of eligible San Francisco ...

Big drop in S.F. voters may lead to record-low election turnout   John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/05/07 Tuesday's mayoral election may draw a record-low turnout because there are fewer voters out there to draw from. The number of registered voters in the city has fallen by more than 9 percent since the 2003 election. Observers blame everything from a...

The mayoral campaign that hardly was, winds down in S.F. Cecilia M. Vega, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/04/07 On the final Saturday before election day in San Francisco, it almost- for a brief moment anyway - felt like there was a real race under way. James Brown's "Living in America" blared at Mayor Gavin Newsom's re-election campaign headquarters. The incumbent...

$12.6 million contract for new S.F. voting system is revived John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/02/07            A $12.6 million contract to bring a new voting system to San Francisco is back from the dead, nearly nine months after a Board of Supervisors committee refused to bring it to a vote. Although nothing has changed in the proposal, new negotiations - and the

John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/22/07
It was another cold and lonely Friday evening for the candidates looking to be San Francisco's next mayor. With a chilly wind swirling across Civic Center Plaza, seven of the 11 people challenging Mayor Gavin Newsom joined again outside City Hall and tried...
Santa Clara County Delays Introducing Ranked Choice Voting Tuesday, 25 September 2007
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KCBS)  -- To avoid long lines and delayed results, the county registrar announced today that ranked choice voting would not decide any contests in the Feb. 5 primary.    County Registrar Jesse Durazo said technological considerations drove his decision.  "The automation is not here," he said. Because the Secretary of State has not certified many electronic voting systems, voters would actually fill out two ballots rather than one if ranked choice went into effect early next year.

S.F. supervisors blamed for blocking new voting system

John Wildermuth, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, September 21, 2007

If it takes three weeks to count the votes in this November's election, the Board of Supervisors should bear the blame, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said Thursday... 

… The tough restrictions put on the use of the company's voting system in San Francisco are borderline ridiculous given how few people are likely to run into the problems with the ink, said Steven Hill, director of the political reform program of the New America Foundation.

"We're talking about people who drop the pen they're given in the voting booth, don't pick up the pen and then grab another pen without black ink," he said. "That's a pretty small group."

Bowen "is basically throwing the book at ES&S, but it's the city that's bearing the brunt of it," Hill said.

Note this comment to the article in response to Steven Hill's remarks: With the ES&S Optech Eagle system ballots marked with lighter ink can be mis-read by the scanner. Mr. Hill should consider that people who want to cause problems with other voters' ballots can and will switch the pens on purpose, even leaving behind pens that look exactly like the "official" Eagle compatible pens? Should we assume that Mr. Hill is as unaware and foolish as the voters he laughs off, or is he purposely trying to disguise the real and relevant bad marker security threat that comes from cutting corners by using obsolete optical scanner heads? ....

S.F. election outcome won't be known for weeks

John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 09/19/07

San Francisco's election night will end early on Nov. 6, but thanks to a new ruling by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, it could be weeks before voters know who won. "We'll probably be able to release the absentee ballot results at 8:30 p.m., and then...

When Newsom gets a free pass for 4 more years, nobody wins

C.W. Nevius, San Francisco Chronicle, 09/06/07

It is the week after Labor Day, the traditional start of the election season. Except in San Francisco. We're not having an election. Instead we're awarding the mayor's office to incumbent Gavin Newsom by default. The filing date to run for mayor came and...

No one is running against S.F. district attorney in fall election

Demian Bulwa, San Francisco Chronicle, 08/16/07

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris collected more than $500,000 from donors for her re-election effort, lined up high-profile endorsements and launched a campaign Web site. Then the clock at the Department of Elections struck 5 p.m. ... Jim Ross, a political consultant who ran Newsom's 2003 campaign, said ranked-choice balloting might have discouraged challengers to Harris. Promoted by its advocates as a boon to underfunded candidates hoping to avoid a costly runoff, ranked-choice voting actually strengthens incumbents, Ross said.
Voters pay less attention to second and third selections than the top slot and often leave them blank, Ross said. The resulting under-vote means incumbents can prevail with less than the 50 percent-plus-one that they once needed to avoid a runoff.

SAN FRANCISCO - Officials scurry to find solution to longtime vote machine problem

John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 07/25/07

Election officials in San Francisco and Sacramento are scrambling to find a way to keep the city from having to count more than 200,000 ballots by hand this November, a nightmare process that could drag on for weeks. California Secretary of State Debra...

2007. IRV software relies upon complex algorithms that could be faulty without anyone realizing it.  San Francisco used software that had a flawed algorithm for several years before it was detected by a review of the voting machines:

California's former SOS McPherson letter to the Board of Supervisors describes the anomaly in the RCV algorithm,in a report dated June 20, 2007. .The Secretary of State’s staff report from 2006 explains the issues experienced during testing which caused Secretary McPherson to approve one-time use of the system. Some of these issues are noted below:

...An anomaly in the RCV algorithm concerning the elimination of the lowest ranking candidates who are tied.

Now, how did this guy get elected?

John Diaz, San Francisco Chronicle, 06/10/07

IN RECENT years, San Francisco voters have set up systems promising to encourage the election of citizen-politicians from the neighborhoods and to raise voter participation and the prospects that our elected leaders arrive in office with a "mandate." So...

SAN FRANCISCO - Newsom faces few hurdles to re-election - Mayor hard to beat: Setbacks can't seem to dim his luster

Phillip Matier, San Francisco Chronicle, 06/03/07

Despite the personal scandals, infighting with the Board of Supervisors and criticism that his administration is all show, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has three very big numbers in his back pocket that will make unseating him one of the toughest...

Supervisor's plans marred by threat of fall from grace

John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 05/27/07

When Ed Jew won his nail-biter of an election for San Francisco's Board of Supervisors in November, it capped a decadelong effort by the Chinatown florist to become a major player in the hurly-burly world of the city's ethnic politics. Less than six months...

SAN FRANCISCO - Questions mount for Sunset supervisor

Wyatt Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 05/20/07

San Francisco Supervisor Ed Jew, the target of an FBI investigation into $40,000 he said he accepted from businessmen facing city permit problems, received a vote of confidence Saturday from supporters who say he is a man of character. But within hours of...

SAN FRANCISCO - Vote machines subpar, official warns - Ink scanners faulty -- ballot tally may have to be by hand

Wyatt Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 05/18/07

San Francisco's chief of elections has warned city officials that ballots cast in the November election may have to be counted by hand because voting machines do not meet standards set by California's secretary of state. In a letter to the mayor and Board...

SAN FRANCISCO / Supes want to know how voting machines count ...


Most of San Francisco's current voting machines use an optical scan to read ... The city's Department of Elections negotiated a contract with Sequoia in ...

Runoff rule, fund limits add twist to S.F. election - Despite scandal, Newsom could benefit from changes

Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 02/10/07

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's self-inflicted political wounds might draw more challengers into November's mayoral race, but the city's new public financing program and instant runoff voting are likely to have more effect on who gets in and when -- and...


S.F. supes: Ed Jew in District 4; Daly slips in - Second-choice votes boost Sunset activist over initial leader

Charlie Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/11/06

Ed Jew, a neighborhood activist whose door-to-door campaigning proved persuasive to voters, came from behind to win a closely fought race for supervisor in San Francisco's Sunset District, according to updated election results released Friday. Jew secured...

RCV Results Posted

Eve Batey, SF Gate, 11/10/06

The San Francisco Board of Elections has posted the ranked choice voting results for Districts Four and Six (Districts Two, Eight, and 10 had clear majority leaders, thus going to RCV was unnecessary). And the leaders? In District Four, Ed Jew. Charlie...

ELECTION 2006 - Ranked-choice tally is crucial in district four

Charlie Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/09/06

San Francisco's biggest electoral surprise in the race for supervisor in District Four on Tuesday was the poor showing by Doug Chan, a candidate who raised a large amount of cash and enjoyed Mayor Gavin Newsom's support but failed to connect with voters.

Uncounted Ballots in SF Unlikely to Change a Thing Chuck Finnie, SF Gate, 11/08/06

SF elections chief John Arntz tells The Chronicle's Robert Selna that there are 69,300 city ballots that still need to be counted as of today -- 60,000 of which mostly are of the absentee variety delivered by voters to polling stations on election day and...

Bay Area prefers status quo Erin Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/07/06

Political change swept the nation Tuesday but skipped the Bay Area, where Democrats were already the status quo. Three of the four San Francisco Board of Supervisors incumbents handily won their races, and the fourth, Chris Daly in District 6, had a...

CAMPAIGN 2006: 5 Days to Go - Results in S.F. supes' races might lag Charlie Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/02/06

Definitive results in San Francisco supervisor races might not be available for several days after next Tuesday's election if officials are forced to retabulate thousands of ballots to determine winners under the city's ranked-choice voting system. John...

VOTER'S GUIDE TO THE NOV. 7 ELECTION - San Francisco Board of Supervisors

San Francisco Chronicle, 10/29/06

There are elections in five of San Francisco's supervisorial districts, with incumbents seeking re-election in Districts Two, Six, Eight and 10 and one race for an open seat in District Four. Under the city's election system for local races, voters rank...

Four supervisors, at least 31 foes to face off    July 25, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO  - Five seats, mayor’s coalition on the line; ranked-choice voting gives incumbents lift

Ranked-choice voting gives incumbents a “tremendous advantage,” according to San Francisco-based political consultant Eric Jaye. A challenger can get more votes than the incumbent, but if the seated official gets more second- and third-rank votes, they can still win the race. 

“[Before ranked-choice voting,] all you had to do is push an incumbent into a runoff, then you’d have equality,” Jaye said. “Now, you don’t just have to make the incumbent the second choice, you have to make them the fourth choice.”  

Which is why political pundits say one of the main races to watch is the one with no incumbent. In District 4, Fiona Ma, who won the Democratic nomination in the 12th Assembly District last month, is vacating the board.

Elections officer approves Sequoia voting machines Oakland Tribune ...


Elections officer approves Sequoia voting machines from Oakland Tribune in Array ... But it is likely Santa Clara and San Francisco counties will have the ...

Sunday, January 09, 2005. Programming problems. Despite promise, ranked-choice voting gets fouled up in California. Ranked-choice voting is the only sane voting system around: it's an instant runoff election that opens up the possibility of third-party competition for major elections.

Unfortunately, in an example that proves bureaucrats hardly ever have the brains to do anything right, the San Francisco Department of Elections muffed this one up. Apparently, their programmers forgot how to count. Someone needs to teach them the old "fingers and toes" method, apparently. News Target article   
December 31, 2004 Claims of minority disenfranchisement:
But David Lee from the Chinese American Voter Education Committee argues that the system disenfranchised minority voters. The organization released a poll saying that only 49 percent of Chinese-speaking voters found the system "easy to use."  San Francisco Examiner article  
November 16, 2004  Don't Toss Out System Yet - Leader of Voter Ed Group suggests scrapping ranked choice voting:
LAST WEEK, THE head of a San Francisco voter-education group said he was considering options including working to repeal The City's new ranked-choice voting system   because the system was too difficult for Chinese-speaking voters.
In RCV -- used to select city supervisors for the first time Nov. 2 --
voters may list three candidates for supervisor in order of preference,eliminating the need for a separate runoff election.
The Chinese American Voter Education Committee's interest in educating and protecting voters whose first language is not English is well placed.  These voters are as important as any others, and making sure they understand their rights and the mechanisms by which they cast their votes is a good goal. Unfortunately, when it comes to the idea of potentially filing suit or attempting to repeal ranked-choice voting at the ballot box CAVEC's aim is off the mark and premature. The Examiner: Article
November 11, 2004 Voting Group says IRV esp difficult for minority group. 
A voter education group charged Wednesday that The City's new voting system was especially difficult for Chinese-speaking citizens but concluded it may take more than one election to see if those citizens are being disenfranchised. San Francisco Examiner article
November 4, 2004. Machines fail to count votes correctly for second and third votes.
Ranked-choice results delayed due to glitches.
The voting system had cleared state and federal testing, and Arntz said the failure to get a proper tally of second and third votes was a surprise.
"I think we can fix this," Arntz said. "A hand count is something I really don't want to do..."
Lillian Sing, who came in second in District 1, said the delay leads her to question the count.
"The system is completely untrustworthy and therefore nothing is accurate as far as I'm concerned,"  she said...
"The department also has yet to count and release tallies for as many as 60,000 absentee and provisional ballots from Tuesday's election. Arntz said he plans to release those tallies
daily over the next two weeks, and that he's confident the ranked-choice result will be complete and accurate before the statutory deadline at the end of the month."
San Francisco Examiner article 

Take a look at some of the findings in these studies of San Francisco’s 2004 & 2005 IRV election, conducted by the Public Research Institute at San Francisco State University:

An Assessment of Ranked-Choice Voting in the San Francisco 2004 Election


The majority of voters appear to have made the transition to Ranked-Choice Voting with little problem: about seven out of eight we surveyed said that, overall, they understood it "fairly well" or "perfectly well." However, that leaves one in eight who expressed some lack of understanding.

…We found differences across racial and ethnic groups in regard to their prior knowledge of RCV, their overall understanding, and their propensity to rank candidates on the ballot.

Non-Hispanic Whites and Asian Americans came to the polls more aware of RCV than others. Whites and Asians also reported a higher level of overall understanding than other groups.

African Americans reported less understanding than other racial/ethnic groups, a difference that grows once other influences are considered.

2005 was worse for voters than 2004:

An Assessment of Ranked-Choice Voting in the San Francisco 2005 Election

IRV was re-named Ranked-Choice Voting because it can take days or weeks to get the results.

Prior Knowledge of Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV)

- A narrow majority of voters surveyed (54%) knew before voting that they would be asked to rank candidates for City Treasurer and Assessor in the 2005 election.

- The proportion of voters who had prior knowledge of RCV was lower in 2005 (54%) than in the 2004 election for the Board of Supervisors (67%).

- Those with lower rates of prior knowledge tended to be those who were less educated, reported having lower incomes, and spoke a primary language other than Spanish.

- African Americans were considerably less likely than other racial and ethnic groups (41.9%) to know they would be ranking their choices for these offices.

-The majority of voters reported ranking three candidates in the race for City Treasurer (57%), while 33% reported selecting only one candidate.*

*That means that in the event the first choice does not win, 33% do not participate in the "run-off".

See this analysis of "Spoilage and Error Rates with Range Voting versus other Voting Systems" from  Valid votes, overvotes and undervotes (also known as DROP-OFF) in IRV races:
Overvote means a voter selected two or more candidates for the same office. Undervote/drop-off means voter selected no candidate for that race. In either IRV or plurality voting, undervoting has the same effect as not voting at all in that race.

So from this we see that the overvote error rates in San Francisco ranged from 3 to 11 times higher with IRV than with plurality voting, typically 7 times higher. (If double-ranking a non-top candidate in IRV were also considered – we haven't – then IRV overvote error rates would have been even higher.) And this conclusion is fully statistically significant.

Meanwhile, the undervotes and dropoffs probably mostly were "intentional" rather than "errors," but anyhow were comparable for both Plurality and IRV.

2004. Touch screens were recommended to San Francisco:  From the San Francisco Dept of Elections report on IRV in 2004.  ES&S realized that its current paper ballot system could not provide voters the opportunity to rank all candidates that qualified for the ballot. For instance, if 22 candidates qualified for one contest, the system could not accommodate voters making 22 selections in order of their preference among the candidates. Touch-screen systems could most likely accommodate the ranking of all candidates.... For absentee voting, however, the formatting for the paper ballots for the current optical scan system limits the number of choices. The RCV Charter amendment allows for voters to have no less than three selections for an RCV contest if it is not technically feasible for the system to allow for voters to rank all of the candidates on the ballot. Thus, the City agreed to have its system modified to allow voters three rankings among the qualified candidates appearing on the RCV ballot.

2003. The Los Angeles Voter Empowerment Circle recommended touch screen voting machines for IRV  to the state of California in 2003: "touch screen machines for DRE systems are also better able to ccommodate alternative voting methods such as Instant Runoff Voting.  We therefore believe that DRE systems are preferable to paper-based systems, such as punch cards or optical scans. 

Lawsuit to Seek IRV in San Francisco in 2003   (from FairVote website) On August 11, 2003, a diverse coalition of citizen groups and San Francisco voters -- including the Congress of California Seniors, Chinese Progressive Association, San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO, California PIRG, Center for Voting and Democracy, Enrique Asis, Gwenn Craig, Arthur Chang, and Tracy Baxter - filed a lawsuit on August 11, 2003 in State Superior Court against the SF Elections Commission, Department of Elections, and the Director of Elections for failure to implement the law of San Francisco which mandates instant runoff voting.

The Real Story: Seventeen Months of Fumbling and Bumbling by the SF Department of Elections and Elections Commission   Timlines, actions, inaction and poor decisions related to IRV implementation    (FairVote attacks election officials for not being able to easily implement IRV. Also FairVote pushes against election transparency and promotes both central counting of the votes or touchscreen voting machines just so that IRV can quickly be implemented.  

July 18, 2003 Smearing for IRV
...IRV supporters are conducting a nasty campaign to smear the Chinese American Voters Education Committee, a group concerned about IRV’s potential to confuse and disenfranchise more than 15,000 voters who use Chinese-language ballots.