Monday, August 16, 2010

Further Thoughts: Minneapolis RCV Report

I was contacted via email by a concerned reader about my last post, discussing Minneapolis' use of ranked choice voting (RCV, AKA instant runoff voting (IRV)). This reader had attempted to contact the report's lead author, Dr. David Schultz, with the hope of clarifying a few points, such as:

  • The paper notes a factor of four increase in ballot spoilage rates, but the prose refuses to acknowledge the possibility that any of this increase was due to the use of RCV. What else would Schultz attribute the increase to?
  • How is such a large number of votes being tossed out not disenfranchisement? How would Schultz identify disenfranchisement?
  • How does Schultz reconcile the 7.5% ballot-error rate with a claim that there did not seem to be any voter confusion?

Unfortunately, Dr. Schultz chose not to answer any of these salient points at all, and was rather short--I would say insultingly dismissive, if the message forwarded to me is any indication--with the few questions he did answer. (One question, about why Schultz's report made constant comparisons to first-past-the-post while Minneapolis had previously used top-two-runoff, was answered with "SO? Your point?")

So perhaps I was too generous to the good doctor. It seems he desperately wants to "prove" that RCV/IRV works, and despite reporting the numbers truthfully (which, he should be praised for), it seems he will continue to support pro-IRV rhetoric, even when his own numbers strongly suggest against it; and that he isn't interested in discussing it.

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