Friday, March 6

ANOTHER SUCCESS FOR INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING

Fair Vote - Burlington, Vermont's instant runoff voting election went off without a hitch, the same as in 2006. If anything, it was even more successful. Interestingly, the city spent almost nothing on voter education this time (and less than 25 cents per voter in 2006). In 2006, for example, the city mailed a postcard to every residence explaining the new voting method, hung banners of busy streets announcing IRV’s upcoming use, inserted a sample ballot with IRV explanation in the daily newspaper, and assigned a city employee to each polling place just to answer any questions about IRV. None of those things were done this time, and instead of having 99.90% of ballots cast in the IRV election being valid (the rate in 2006), fully 99.95% of the ballots in the IRV race were valid this time. So, people who worry that IRV is “too hard” for voters, or that voter education has to be expensive, are simply wrong according to the evidence.

The polls closed at 7:00 p.m. on March 3rd, and at approximately 8:15 p.m. that night the IRV tally had been completed and the winner announced. In

Since there was no initial majority winner, the instant runoff tally followed immediately. Since a record of every ballot’s set of rankings was generated by the optical scan voting machines, it took less than a second for the computer to complete the IRV tally.

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