[EM] Burlington Vermont repeals IRV 52% to 48%

Terry Bouricius terryb at burlingtontelecom.net
Wed Mar 3 06:22:08 PST 2010

I can answer your question about the voter turnout trends in Burlington, 
having been involved in electoral politics in Burlington  for over 30 
years (in fact I was on the City Council when Ward 7 was created a couple 
of decades ago).

Burlington's New North End (Wards 4 and 7) are primarily owner-occupied 
detached homes (suburban-feeling), with slightly more Republicans than 
Democrats, and few Progressives. These Wards ALWAYS have far higher 
turnout that the rest of the city. The rest of the city is a majority 
rental property, and some Wards have a high percentage of University 
students (who only vote in Presidential election years) and refugee 
immigrants who are not allowed to vote. In these Wards, Progressives and 
Democrats dominate, with very few Republicans. Since homeowners see the 
direct impact of votes on school budgets and bond issues, they are 
especially more likely than renters to vote in municipal elections.

Added to the above is the fact that in this election there were hotly 
contested city council races in Wards 4 and 7 (in which Republicans won), 
with only one inner-city Ward having a competitive city council race (that 
being the traditionally lowest turnout Ward 2).

Terry Bouricius

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "robert bristow-johnson" <rbj at audioimagination.com>
To: "Election Methods" <election-methods at electorama.com>
Sent: Tuesday, March 02, 2010 10:14 PM
Subject: Re: [EM] Burlington Vermont repeals IRV 52% to 48%

On Mar 2, 2010, at 9:58 PM, Bob Richard wrote:

> I don't know Burlington geography or politics. But the city council
> returns make it appear that turnout was much higher in the two
> wards where IRV lost than in the five wards where IRV won.

i know.  it's weird.

> If that is at least roughly the case, was there something about the
> city council contests or candidates that would account for such a
> difference in turnout?

i live in Ward 7, one of the Republican and anti-IRV bastions.  i
dunno if it's that poor people (wards 2 and 3) and liberals (1, 5, 6)
don't vote as much as white, upper middle-class, conservatives (4 and
7).  i would think that the US Supreme Court has mandated roughly
equal representation (in all things but the US Senate) and that would
mean, since there are two council seats for each ward, that the wards
are roughly equal population.  but you couldn't tell by the 3-digit
turnout in all of the wards except 4 and 7 where there was a healthy
4-digit turnout.  i am not surprized that my ward and ward 4 were
strongly against IRV, in fact, i am surprized whenever a Democrat is
elected from there.  In fact, one of the pro-IRV co-chairs is from my
ward (he's a state rep and the legislative district boundaries are
different so i can't vote for or against him), you would not expect
that either.

i'm just disappointed in the dreadfully low turnout in the other
wards.  real sad.

well, that does it for a generation.  i will probably never have the
opportunity to vote on a Ranked Ballot again in my life (not that i
think the IRV tabulation method was good for shit, at least we could
*see* who should win because more information was collected from the
voters). now, in the future elections, we won't even know who was the
Condorcet winner (fat chance getting him/her elected).

i just wonder if Rob Ritchie and company (and League of Women Voters)
are looking inward at all tonight and evaluating the effectiveness of
their Denialism and Happy Talk.



r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

> --Bob Richard
> robert bristow-johnson wrote:
>> Well, that's sad.  Even with a sorta narrow victory the anti-
>> IRVers will swagger down Church Street like they own the place. We
>> will now all accept that God instituted the "traditional ballot"
>> for use forever and that a 40% Plurality is a "winner".
>> It would have been optimum if IRV survived this vote by a narrow
>> margin.
>> It's sad that when FairVote introduced and promoted the ranked
>> ballot that, from square 1, they always coupled it to the IRV
>> tabulation of votes.  When enough disasters (at least anomalies)
>> happen like in Burlington or Aspen, some backlash, both ignorant
>> and enlightened, is bound to happen.
>> -- 
>> r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com
>> "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list