Kathy Dopp (1) has written a scathing criticism of instant runoff voting (aka IRV 2).
It’s a list of many criticisms but it is rooted in Dopp’s election integrity and election auditing background. IRV is a disaster from an election integrity point of view – primarily because it is not ‘summable in precincts’.
I agree with much of what she has to say. However, I find her paper to be somewhat difficult to read since the latest version frequently switches tone and voice between her voice and that of Abd ul-Rahman Lomax (who posts profusely on the election methods’ email list and the range voting message board.) [Update: 6/17/08 - see correction in comments] .
Here is Dopp’s summary:
Instant runoff voting (IRV) is a method for counting “ranked choice” ballots where each voter ranks the candidates – first choice, second choice, etc. The IRV counting process proceeds in “rounds” where the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated in each round and that candidate’s votes are reassigned to the remaining candidates using voters’ choices. IRV sounds enticing to voters who can express their preferences, but according to the new report, IRV does not solve the problems it is promoted as solving and causes significant new problems.
According to Kathy Dopp, the report’s author, “Instant runoff voting is a threat to the fairness, accuracy, timeliness, and economy of U.S. elections. The U.S. needs to solve its existing voting system problems and then carefully consider the options before adopting new voting methods.”
The full report “Realities Mar Instant Runoff Voting – 17 Flaws and 3 Benefits” is found on-line at
One main point I disagree with her about:
The National Election Data Archive recommends restoring verifiable integrity to elections first before implementing alternative voting methods.
There are many problems and issues with our election system.
They include integrity, election methods, gerrymandering, representation via districts vs other options, the electoral college, voting on Tuesdays rather then more accessible times.
In my view, getting rid of lousy election methods is pretty important.
(aside: a very loosy-goosy attempt to compare the importance of various reforms (+ discussion))