[EM] Burlington 2009 IRV election valid ballot rate

Terry Bouricius terryb at burlingtontelecom.net
Mon Mar 30 06:16:32 PDT 2009


Regarding the number of valid ballots in the Burlington IRV mayoral 

(I doubt anyone else is interested in this, but I will post it to the list 
just in case.)

Now I understand the source of your confusion about the number and rate of 
"valid" ballots. The word "valid" has more than one possible usage. the 
Choice Plus Pro software web output posted on the Burlington web site uses 
a non-standard definition...it includes all of the four (although actually 
discovered in the recount to be only one) first round exhausted ballots 
(that the scanner detected two ovals marked in the first choice column) as 
"valid," because they were genuinely cast by voters and could be 
incorporated into the algorithm. We however refer to these as "invalid" 
ballots, meaning ballots which were cast with an intent to participate in 
the contest, but were apparently miss-marked so as to make the voter 
intent uncertain. However also note that four different ballot cards were 
BLANK...the voters completely skipped this particular race and didn't vote 
at all. Choice Plus Pro unfortunately uses the term "invalid" where as it 
should use the standard election administration and legal term "blank" to 
describe these four blank ballots. If you look at the actual ballot data, 
you will see 8,980 ballots with rankings marked, and four blank ballots 
with no votes at all. If one adds in the four blank ballot papers, the 
total is 8,984. Since voters often skip some races, and no jurisdiction in 
the U.S. that I am aware of includes blank ballots in the base for 
calculating spoilage rates, our analysis focuses on the 8,980 ballots that 
were cast for this particular contest. Of these, the recount showed that 
at most one was an invalid over-vote...thus the rate of 99.99% valid.

Finally, you can find the results of the recount on the city's web site 
www.burlingtonvotes.org. They are labeled as uncertified, because the city 
attorney says state law has specific requirements for completion, and a 
certification form to be signed by the Board of Civil Authority at the end 
of the recount. Since Kurt Wright, the petitioner, called a stop to the 
recount at the half-way point, the partial results could not legally be 
called official or certified. But the fact remains that the three ballots 
the vote scanner identified as invalid over-votes in Ward 1, were in fact 
found, and determined to have only stray marks in the write-in oval, and 
in fact to be valid votes, that were added to the candidate totals during 
the recount.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

Terry Bouricius

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Warren Smith" <warren.wds at gmail.com>
To: "election-methods" <election-methods at electorama.com>
Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2009 5:02 PM
Subject: [EM] Burlington 2009 IRV election pathologies - updated web page

Bouricius and Richie ("FairVote")
objected to the fact that many of the lies in
their multiyear propaganda/lying campaign to mislead
millions about IRV had been refuted by us by analysing
IRV's pathologies in the Burlington 2009 mayoral election.

(A lot of the FairVote lies
are conveniently outlined in GREEN in our
pages; more are documented at, e.g,
http://rangevoting.org/Irvtalk.html  .)

Although most of their new objections were as-pathetic and misleadling as
their usuals, they did contribute one correct one.
As a result, we have added the following "update" section to this page:


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