“FairVote” and their affiliate which they claim not to be affiliated with, “BetterBallot Campaign” (Two misnamed organizations if ever there were such a thing) are taking the occasion of the Franken election-theft attempt as an example of why we need Instant Runoff Voting. Again, their logic is convoluted.
They claim “with IRV we’d get a winner who is preferred by a majority.” The problem with this statement is simply that it’s completely wrong. We have proven time and time again that a plurality winner is perfectly acceptable in our system of government because we are not a majority-rule democracy. Majorities can be as tyrannical as any dictator.
Ask yourself this: if the majority passed a law legalizing slavery, would that be right? Of course not! So then, a majority can be wrong, right? Obviously, so why demand a majority election winner in a 3 candidate (or more) race?
What makes their argument even more silly is that IRV doesn’t even guarantee a majority winner anyway. If, after all rounds of preference tallying are completed and nobody winds up with a majority of “first choices,” the candidate with the most first choices, i.e. a plurality, wins! They must know this, so why use the majority argument unless it’s to mask some other intent?
Secondly, they used the phrase “preferred by” to describe the election winner. This is a clue to the disenfranchising nature of preferential voting. If you have a system in which voters “indicate their preferences” by ranking candidates rather than vote for one, you have just changed the nature of a vote.
Immense mathematical complexity arises once the instant runoff starts. This can cause a voter’s rankings to have an effect other than what the voter intended, and there is no way the voter can know what this effect will be – this is how preferential voting disenfranchises voters. (Visit our website mnvoters.org for more info)
Maybe “FairVote” et. al. truly believe that IRV is good for voters. Maybe they are well-intentioned. But then, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, as the saying goes.
The simple fact is that IRV is so obviously undemocratic, and it’s advocates are so overwhelmingly from one side of the political spectrum, and the beneficiaries of IRV elections almost always turn out to be from that same part of the spectrum, it’s hard not to be suspicious of their true intent. Unless it’s simply that they are uninformed, and do not completly understand our representative form of government.
IRV “directly diminishes the right of the voter to cast an effective for the candidate of his choice…unimpaired by the additional choice votes cast by others.” That’s it. It’s just that simple. Thus, IRV promoters are either ignorant, or they are power-hungry political ideologues. This is not meant to be taken personally, it’s merely a logical conclusion based on their zealous promotion of such an obviously undemocratic vote-ranking scheme.
– Matt Marchetti