IRV Demo Results
Thanks to mresquan for the heads of on the results of the Instant Runoff Voting demonstration held Tuesday. The results are here, if you haven't seen them yet. No surprises to be found there except maybe more of the Flemming voters' second votes going to Marks than I would have expected.
As Scott Menzies points out, it would be hard to make a call on the demographics involved as there was no screening of those voting to quantify who lived where and such. Still, one thing seems to hold true: More people were willing to waste their vote, on the underdog candidate. In this case that candidate being Richard Marks.
Third party advocates of IRV have used this as a selling point of IRV for some time pointing out if people would still be able to cast a vote for the more mainstream candidate(s) and have it count, they might be more willing to cast their first choice for their real preferred candidate. Whatever.
I'm not sure this race was the best one to use for an IRV demo. I would think a four way race might be more informative. But, this one demo does show one concern I have about IRV is true: It strengthens the power of the majority, which in this case is the Left. In right leaning areas those on the Right would gain any advantage that could be had from IRV.
Both Left wing candidates received the majority of votes in the first count, assuming I'm reading the results right. While I'll admit to being somewhat confused at the math, it looks like most of the votes from Flemming went to Neely, with a surprising amount going to Marks.
In this case Neely wins without the need for a runoff election. Thus, the numerical advantage the Left has is simply made more powerful using IRV. If the runoff was held, as it will be in the real world, Flemming would have one more chance to change people's minds, unlikely as that is to happen.
It's probably safe to assume, that in the runoff, the vast majority of Marks' votes will end up going to Neely, unless Flemming pulls some October surprise or a large number of former Marks voters don't go to the polls for some reason.
So, bottom line as I see it is, that while IRV does give more power to the majority opinion (not a good thing in my mind) that power will be there to a large extent, anyway, and IRV does eliminate the need for a runoff. But, the standard runoff we have now does allow the minority one last chance to make its case and stay in the game.
Nice job on the demo, though, and sorry I missed my chance to meet Scott Menzies. He was there when I voted but he wasn't at the table so I missed him.