[EM] IRV unconstitutional?

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 8 01:55:01 PST 2002

A voting rights amendment has just been passed, which requires that
everyone's vote be counted.

If a vote is a voted preference, then IRV ignores many votes.

If your vote in IRV is your traveling IRV vote, then it seems
meaningless to only require counting your vote, because a count rule
could put your vote wherever it wants to, and count it there :-)

Maybe your vote in IRV means your entire ballot, which must be
counted by the same rules as any other ballot. In that case, the
amendment says nothing about any count rule. But can't there be
count rules that unfairly don't count votes in some way? If so,
those count rules make nonsense of the amendment's protection

Since the balloting is one that expresses many pairwise preferences,
it seems reasonable to argue that a pairwise preference is the
vote that the voting rights initiative should protect.

There's also the federal Constitution provision requiring equal
protection under the law, and it could be argued that uncounted
pairwise preference votes on a pairwise ballot amount to unequal
protection in that election.

Maybe SF's opposition groups could get an attorney to pursue these
questions. Maybe IRV opposition groups in Vermont could hire attorneys
to pursue the "equal protection" approach.

I believe that uncounted preferences genuinely violate at least the spirit 
of those provisions.

Mike Ossipoff

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