Many people think that Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) would do a lot to weaken the two parties’ death-grip on our pseudo-democratic system.
But IRV requires computerized voting systems, and would therefore only strengthen that death-grip, since it would make hand-counting paper ballots virtually impossible, as Rebecca Mercuri explains below.
Hawaii’s Instant Runoff Legislation — Veto Needed
by Rebecca Mercuri, Ph.D.
In the aftermath of the controversial 2000 Presidential Election, the
Help America Vote Act was enacted, which (among other initiatives)
provided funds for the procurement of new voting systems.
Many states rushed out to buy electronic voting equipment that afforded
no way to perform an independent recount from ballots that the voters
themselves had validated for correctness. Instead, Hawai’i did the right
thing by evaluating the pros and cons of the available products,
ultimately settling on a largely paper-based system. This enables votes
to easily and simply be counted, using the traditional 1+1=2 method, if
the computer tallies are questioned or a manual recount becomes necessary.
Unfortunately, this will not continue to be the case if Governor
Abercrombie fails to veto H.B. 638 which has recently passed both the
Hawai’i House and Senate. This dangerous bill came to the floor without
ample opportunity for opposition testimony. It allows for the
introduction of a technique known as Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), which
is confusing to voters and makes hand-counting virtually impossible,
thus increasing the state’s reliance on proprietary and unexaminable
computer software for generating its election results.