[EM] How did local IRV affect CA state elections?

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Tue Dec 14 10:30:04 PST 2010

On Dec 13, 2010, at 5:18 PM, ⸘Ŭalabio‽ wrote:

> 	Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2010 15:14:00 -0800 (PST), “Sand W” <b4peas at yahoo 
> .com>:
>> 	It would/will  be great if any student of statistics will do a  
>> statistical regression on these two bay-area elections, to prove  
>> that higher voter turnout in CA's IRV-modernized cities made the  
>> difference for Kamala Harris and Jerry McNerney.
> 	The first thing to do is determine whether a phenomenon exists.   
> This could be nothing more than post hoc proctor ergo hoc.  I see no  
> reason to believe that IRV would increase turnout.

do you mean that the turnout in the IRV election is no greater than  
turnout in a regular election?  i might agree.

but if you mean that the turnout for the IRV election is no greater  
than the turnout for a traditional delayed runoff, i think there is  
ample evidence to dispute that.

>  This could be a statistical fluke.
> 	¿Is the turnout even unusual for these communities?  In previous  
> elections, ¿did these communities have higher turnout than the state  
> average?  That is an important question.
> 	¿What is the hypothesis for why IRV could encourage turnout  We  
> need a testable hypothesis.

i would put it negatively, this would be a statement of the hypothesis  
i would propose to investigate:

    Election policy that decreases convenience for voters will  
decrease voter
    participation. Having to vote once for your preferred candidate,  
and then
    being called on to return to the polls at a later date and vote  
again for your
    preferred candidate (if he/she makes it to the run-off) is  
decidedly less
    convenient and we must expect that significantly fewer voters will  
show up
    for the run-off. Or, if your most-preferred candidate did not make  
it to the
    run-off, the motivation to return to the polls to vote for a  
somewhat less
    preferred candidate (or to vote against a much disliked candidate)  
    reduced and fewer voters show up.

now, those of us who have participated and watched elections that go  
to a delayed runoff have noticed, quite consistently, that the turnout  
for the runoff is about half of the turnout for the original election  
that preceded the runoff.  would getting statistical data for that  
test the hypothesis sufficiently?


r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

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