Tuesday, August 10, 2010

North Carolina voters in at least three counties (Buncombe, Cumberland and Rowan) will use Instant Runoff Voting to decide the winners in three Superior Court races this fall. Under state law (NCGS 163-329), vacancies on the Superior Court, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court which occur after the primary but more than 60 days before Election Day are filled through an election that allows voters to rank their choices. A wacko, free-for-all election in 2004 involving eight candidates for the Supreme Court prompted state legislators to add the Instant Runoff method; the winner of the 2004 race got less than 25% of the votes and is now a Supreme Court justice. The open Superior Count races are in Districts 12A (Cumberland), 19C (Rowan) and 28 (Buncombe); each race now has three candidates after a filing period that ended yesterday. It’s very likely that election officials will have trained volunteers at each polling site to help voters understand how the IRV method works: “Mark who you want to win as your first choice, and then mark a back-up choice in case your first choice is eliminated and there’s a runoff between the other two candidates; your vote stays with your first choice as long as that candidate is a contender.” Things could get interesting if Judge Jim Wynn, who has just been appointed to the federal court in Richmond, resigns this month and creates a vacancy that triggers a statewide IRV election for his NC Court of Appeals seat.

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5 Responses to “Tuesday, August 10, 2010”

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  3. Joyce McCloy says:

    IRV is fine for academic elections but not for real elections. There is no software to count the votes by machine, and for Cumberland County, which uses touchscreens, you will have to trust that officials accurately copy and paste vote data from voting machines over to a spreadsheet.

    Experts already warn that you should never use spreadsheets to tally votes – and our state law requires the use of federally certified software to tally elections. IRV is not additive so votes cannot be tallied where cast. It will be hard to have any confidence in the results since vote tallying will be compromised.

    • I wonder if anyone at the SBOE has contact either ES&S or the local vendor PrintElect and asked for some documentation from them.

      Have they ever submitted any of their machines for federal certification of any of the many IRV tabulation schemes?

      If they have not done so, would the vendor’s bond with the SBOE cover any meltdown with an IRV election? If not, who would pay for it?

      If the bond would not cover uncertified use of the vendor’s system, that means election officials and electoral reformers are deliberately exposing our taxpayers to expensive risks in this time of budget crisis!

  4. [...] North Carolina’s Link of the Day is about the advantages of Instant Runoff Voting that three counties will use in Superior Court [...]