[EM] Burlington 2009 -- analysis + responses to attacks by IRVpropagandists

Warren Smith warren.wds at gmail.com
Fri Mar 27 17:52:41 PDT 2009

Also here is something from Rob Richie expressing similar:

[from rr at fairvote.org]
The recount _was__ an official recount. As you may know, the real
opponents of IRV to worry about in Burlington are those preferring to
go to plurality or, if they can't get that, the old runoff system with
a 40% threshold. Those pushing the repeal right now are motivated by
thinking it would have helped Wright, the leader in first choices.

Wright asked for a recount, but when he found that it was proving
nothing to help him, he called it off. But if he had finished it,
those three ballots would have been valid as it turns out the machines
had mistakenly flagged a write-in when there wasn't one. Quite
possibly the 4th one was a goof-up as well, as all four of these
invalid ballots had the same alleged "write-in" mistake.

I know Abd and some other don't like to think that Bucklin led to a
sharp reduction in second choice rankings, but it did. If you halve
the second choice rankings on ballots cast for each candidate as a
first choice, Wright wins. With the kind of passion you had in this
race in the Wright and Kiss camps, with their backers much preferring
their person then settling on a Democrat, you would have seen a huge
increase in bullet voting. But even a 50% increase quite likely would
have done it -- and I think that's a conservative estimate.

With range, the Kiss and Wright backers would have been maxing out on
their guy and almost certainly giving very little to anyone else.

I think approval/range only elects Montroll in this kind of situation
if backers of other candidates have more fear of the most hated
opponent than hope to get their favorite in. The most passionate
voters in Burlington were Kiss and Wright backers, particuiarly living
in a state and city where the Democrats are the dominant party and you
need to grab your chances to win when you have them.

We don't have exit polls, so I could be wrong. But I hope you realize
you might be as well, as I recognize you ackowledge at the end of this

in view of these remarks by Richie + Bouricius, we should probably modify the
"responses" page and/or "Burlington" page somewhat.   [Coauthors - write me your

The official election output from Burlington says 4 invalid then 8980 valid,
and then OF those 8980, 4 were discarded before counting.  TGB claims they were
the same 4, contradicting the official report.  He might be right, but
that would
lead to the question: should we count errors in the official report, as errors?

I mean, it is kind of weird for IRV propagandists to be "defending"
IRV's "success" by saying "oh, the officials made errors but we're way
smarter than them."  This doesn't exactly sound like a great line of
argument for them...

Richie claims there was a recount, and this recount would have reduced the 4
official invalid ballots, to 1 invalid ballot (because he somehow has
secret unofficial info about it, I guess), except the recount was
terminated before completion, therefore the official Burlington report
ignored it.

Again I would have to ask - if they partially did a recount, why not
incorporate its
results into the official results? (Or: maybe they in fact already did?)
Which also by the way leads to another point:
with IRV, due to its "no such thing as subtotals" property, you
have a lot more trouble trying to do a partial recount, then revising
results appropriately -- than as compared with other election methods, in
which "subtotals" exist.  Explanation:
Which is kind of a good reason IRV recounts are going to be
MORE of a nightmare and more of a risk of a nightmare, than other
voting methods.
(Which of course rangevoting.org had been pointing out for years.)
Which indeed may have been why the official report was not revised (if
it was not)
to incorporate recount data. In which case the IRVers have kind of
been hoisted by their own petard, exactly the way we'd been predicting
they would be for years.

Ho hum.

Anyhow, my view is, if you want to report error rates and invalid
rates, you have to use the official data+counts, as officially
reported after all recounting done (which we did)
and if those data+counts were flawed, well, that MATTERS,
in fact it is kind of the whole POINT of reporting errors+invalids...

I'm not too impressed with Richie & Bouricius whining about our "tone" since
basically, we just have quote after quote from them which are lies
misleading the public
(and we could have listed far more of them, obviously), then we note
that (with hopefully-catastrophic refutations each time), then they
whine about our "tone."   My heart bleeds for them.

(In fact, if they are wondering why we call them "propagandists" not
well, golly, I wonder how we got that impression.  Might we for some
reason have thought it was a more accurate descriptor?  Trust me, any
real scientist acting that way
would have one hell of a tough time trying to get a job if anybody
pointed that stuff out
to their employer.  Drop that guy like a hot rock.)

However, if somebody objects to something tone-ish, especially if it is one of
the coauthors doing the objecting, then we can maybe change it.

Re TGB's company being a different company, that we definitely should
fix, assuming it is correct (presumably is?).

Again, I can't say I'm too impressed with TGB claiming since everybody
knows him he need not say anything about his conflict of interest, but
the rules differ for A.G. and his so-called "bias."   TGB raised that
issue, not us.  So he fully deserves to get it crammed back at him.
(My heart bleeds some more.  And yeah, we've all got bios on the web
Terry.  You might actually not be the only one.)


Warren D. Smith
http://RangeVoting.org  <-- add your endorsement (by clicking
"endorse" as 1st step)

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