The Instigator
Pigzooka
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
TheNovice
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Should the USA switch to Instant Runoff Voting?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/4/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 276 times Debate No: 83470
Debate Rounds (3)
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Pigzooka

Pro

The USA SHOULD switch to instant-runoff voting (IRV) in which the voters pick their top several candidates, rather than choosing one of two. Not only would this make it easier for third parties to gain a foothold in national politics, it would make elections truly about voting FOR the person you like, not AGAINST the person you couldn't bear to have in power (like this coming presidential election; I wouldn't vote for Hillary by choice, but I think the Republicans would be even worse). It would solve some campaign finance issues, and eliminate negative advertizing.
TheNovice

Con

It should be that the goal of a democracy to allow every voter to participate fully and equally in elections. There is no need for such a convoluted system which would disenfranchise many of the most venerable in our population - those which should be involved and represented in the political process. This idea of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), suggested by my opponent, is neither well thought out or well described. How does it work? So I can give a vote to as many candidates as I want? How do they count the votes? He complains that he has to vote for one of two. I know in the elections I participate in, I am able to choose from many candidates. In the 2012 November presidential election, voters got to choose from 6 different candidates, in some places, even more! Furthermore, is my opponent proposing that Congress should be selected this way, as well as state legislatures, mayors etc.? Since my opponent could not explain IRV well, I went to that thing called "the internet" and read up on IRV. It seems like many supported the IDEA, but in practice, IRV has been a complete failure. Hasn't lived up to the proponents promises. If it were a consumer product, there would be a massive recall. It was tried in US a 100 years ago, and places scrapped it. Now IRV is reading its ugly head again. Looks like IRV is a solution looking for a problem. I cannot support this ill-conceived, poorly described suggestion proposed by Pigzooka.

But wait, there's more... Since I have not used up the allowable 8,000 characters, I will continue.... After further discovery, I have found Instant Runoff Voting disenfranchises huge segments of voters; the elderly, english as a second language, african americans, immigrants, those less educated, those of lower income. Why would we want Instant Runoff Voting; a voting system that throws out the voices of these people? In the past few years, some municipalities have tried instant Runoff Voting for their local elections. Several immediately repealed Instant Runoff Voting because of the voter confusion, huge costs, and high spoiled ballot rate. It's such a bad idea, I don't need to take 8,000 characters. I will accept your surrender.
Debate Round No. 1
Pigzooka

Pro

The confidence of my opponent is heartening, in this time of fear in America, yet he said little of any substance. The first paragraph asks me to explain IRV, so I will. This site (1) has information about it. The voter in question ranks all of the candidates, in order. Say there are five, known only by numbers. Candidate 5 receives the fewest "first choice" votes and is thrown out. It does not matter the winner of this round. In the next round, "second choice" votes are added to the "first choice" votes to determine which candidate has the fewest combined first-and-second-choice votes. Candidate 4 is thrown out, since he has the fewest. In the third round, all the "third choice" votes are added to the vote numbers, and Candidate 3, who loses, is thrown out. Now there are two candidates left, and the "fourth choice" votes are counted and added to their totals. Whichever one has the most votes wins. If my opponent was confused (presumably he is) then this site (2) has a visualization that really helps, but only if he clicks on the link (hint hint).

Now to his points. He claims that IRV "disenfranchises" the elderly, ESL, African-Americans, immigrants, lower-educated people, and low-income people, yet this is laughable. A ballot is sent to everyone registered, just like in single-vote systems. There are problems with disenfranchisement in the USA, but they are not caused by IRV. My opponent claims to have "found" it through "discovery"; I assume he made it up, similarly to the way George W. Bush "discovered" WMDs in Iraq.

He further claims (I have more respect for this) that IRV is too expensive and doesn't work, yet this study (3) says otherwise. Not only did it almost eliminate negative ads (since not looking bad to some voters is as important as looking good to others), people were more satisfied with the election overall, and a majority of voters wanted to keep IRV (contrary to what my opponent says).

I hope this helps with any misunderstanding. Stay confident, friend; it will serve you well.

1: http://www.fairvote.org...
2. http://www.opavote.com...
3. http://www.fairvote.org...
TheNovice

Con

WHEREAS, the cost of running the IRV portion of the 2008 General Election was $1,692,662: and
WHEREAS, the IRV portion of the 2008 General Election provided to be expensive, complicated and confusing, and the results of the IRV races were not available for weeks following the election date; and
WHEREAS, 66 percent of the 90,738 voters responding to the Auditor"s survey indicated that they did not like IRV; and
WHEREAS, the Council finds that amendments to the Charter to eliminates instant runoff voting and to restore the primary election for county elected offices will serve the needs and best interests of the citizens of Pierce County

This was the verbiage of Pierce County"s Repeal ordinance. It was repealed with a 72% to 29% margin.

source: http://docdro.id...

WHEREAS, for the first time in decades, the Mayor of Oakland was elected without the support of the majority that voted; and
WHEREAS, winning by a majority provides the mandates elected leaders need to govern effectively; and
WHEREAS, the controversial Ranked Choice Voter System has disenfranchised and confused many Oakland voters even after spending hundreds of thousand of dollars on voter education; and
WHEREAS, Ranked Choice Voting has resulted in increased negative campaigning and gaming of the election system; and
WHEREAS, studies indicate that the voters most likely to be disenfranchised and make voting mistakes are the poor, elderly, non-English speaking and minority voters; and
WHEREAS, in Dudum v. Arntz, 640 F.3d 1098 (9th Cir. 2011,), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has described Ranked Choice Voting as a plurality system, not a majority system; and
WHEREAS, for the foregoing reasons, the City Council desires to submit to the qualified electors of the City of Oakland at the next special or general municipal election, a proposed Charter amendment repealing rank choice voting.

This was the Charter amendment proposed to repeal IRV in Oakland by the Oakland Council President Pro tem.

source: http://docdro.id...

Cities that tried IRV (also known as Ranked Choice Voting) have found it so bad, they have repealed it, after spending millions of dollars on implementing this flawed system.

There have been so many scientific, peer reviewed papers that detail the disenfranchisement of minorities, ELS, elderly, less educated. Prof. Jason McDaniel"s paper entitled WRITING THE RULES TO RANK THE CANDIDATES: EXAMINING THE IMPACT OF INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING ON RACIAL GROUP TURNOUT IN SAN FRANCISCO, published in the prestigious Journal of Urban Affair. His paper shows how IRV (RCV) drove voters AWAY from the polls, particularly Blacks, elderly and less educated.

source: http://docdro.id...

Professors Craig Burnett or University of North Carolina and Prof. Vladimir Kogan of Ohio State University studied BALLOT (AND VOTER) "EXHAUSTION" UNDER INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING - AN EXAMINATION OF FOUR RANKED-CHOICE ELECTIONS. They analyzed over 600,000 ballots and found a substantial number of votes being discarded. They go point by point to the claims made by proponents of IRV and show that they are just not true.

source: http://www.pdf-archive.com...

Even Minneapolis" Charter Commission Members spoke out about the high spoiled ballot rate in minority communities:

source: http://docdro.id...

Professors Jacobs and Miller from the Univ. Minnesota review the election data to show the same disparity:

source: http://docdro.id...

Here"s graphic example of the disparity in the Spoiled Ballot Rates in Minneapolis from the elections department"s own numbers. The "affluent" section of town had low spoiled ballots rates of 1.96% while minority areas, and low income areas had as high as 12.68%.

source: http://docdro.id...

San Francisco has experienced the same problems in it"s IRV/RCV elections. Prof. Cook, a renewed elections expert details the problems in front of the Board of Supervisors:

source: https://youtu.be...

Over the years, IRV has gotten such a bad rap that many communities have repealed or voting the proposals down. In the UK, over 10 million voters rejected IRV by an astounding 71% to 29%. Burlington, VT, Pierce County WA, Aspen CO, Ann Arbor MI have all recently repealed IRV. Fort Collins, CO rejected IRV. Just last month in the very small town of Duluth, MN, voters rejected IRV by 75%(NO) to 25%(YES). What is interesting to note, FairVote funded the YES campaign to the tune of OVER $170,000, just to get 5,271 votes. That"s over $30 per vote! The Grass-roots NO to IRV campaign spent just about $6,000 and received 15,564 votes.

source: http://www.duluthmn.gov...

The use of the IRV lobby group FairVote as your source of evidence is interesting. It"s like researchers for the oil companies saying global warming is a myth. This highly discredited organization had violated state election laws to get IRV introduced in St. Paul, and was fined the maximum amount. Then, unbelievably, they cont the lucrative contract to help with the IRV election.

source: http://docdro.id...

Therefore, with a fuller understanding of the true implications of using IRV in small localities, the fact it has not lived up to the many promises, the fact that minorities, elderly, ESL, and less educated are disenfranchised, it would be unwise to adopt it in national elections.
Debate Round No. 2
Pigzooka

Pro

Ok, now I propose that voters be allowed to vote for as many candidates as they choose. You win. Thanks for the debate.
TheNovice

Con

Know that most folks often promote IRV without knowing really much about it. Sounds like a good idea, all the cool kids are doing it, etc. Might be a good way to pick prom King and Queen, or where to eat, but scaling it up for anything of significance has so many unintended consequences.

Your new proposal is called Approval Voting, and it gaining steam across America actually. Both Oregon and Arizona was working on introducing legislation to allow Approval Voting. You may want to look closer into it. A quick search finds this info:

http://electology.org...

Cheers.
Debate Round No. 3
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