Aspen, CO RCV/IRV Repeal
Aspen, CO's experience should resonate with other cities that have experimented with RCV/IRV. Aspen voters — by a 70 percent margin — decided to amend the city charter in 2007 to make way for IRV. However, after seeing the system in action, those same voters have changed their minds. There was a great deal of spoiled ballots and confusion. The City Clerk stated "there were 168 spoiled ballots Tuesday; 2 is typical."
Immediately after the election, researchers discovered that if one candidate's supporters ranked his 2nd, instead of 1st, he would have won. In other words, because he got more 1st place votes, he lost.
Aspen Times Weekly did an investigation into the election entitled "Unlocking IRV, How instant runoff voting turned the May 2009 election into a 17-month fight." It has been viewed as one of the most comprehensive reports on how IRV actually works.
Aspen Times - Aspen's instant runoff voting quick but confusing: - "There were 168 spoiled ballots Tuesday; two is typical, said City Clerk Kathryn Koch." “I hate it. It’s very confusing,” said one vote. “I didn’t like it,” said another woman. “I just want to vote for who I think is it. I didn’t like voting this way.”
Aspen Daily News - Aspen considers replacing IRV in November: - “I like having an additional month to get to know the candidates,” Torre said. “When it comes to voting, I’m not looking for the easiest route. I’m looking for the most effective.”
The Aspen Times - Aspen mull vote-counting options: - “the last election was mired in controversy, partially over IRV, which has gained increasing scrutiny in communities across the country. Citing complex mathematical equations, election integrity enthusiasts and mathematicians have criticized the method. ”
The Aspen Daily News Editorial - Do away with IRV: - “involved extremely complicated computer programs, which thoroughly confused people not only in the counting of the votes but also how they ranked candidates the ballot. The electronic counting had voters/ heads spinning while they watched the results come in on election night, not knowing for sure how it was being done. Democracy shouldn't be based on a bunch of algorithms from someone/s computer. It/s too complicated for the average voter to understand.”
The Aspen Times - Aspen voters to vote on how they vote - again - “The majority of Aspen residents in November 2007 voted to adopt the IRV election method in an effort to save time, money and energy that comes with a second election a month after the municipal vote was counted. Aspen resident Don Davidson said he doesn't think IRV worked as it was intended to, nor did he have a chance to fully grasp candidates' positions. “A lot of people, including myself, didn't understand the intricacies of IRV when we were voting for it."
The Aspen Times - Aspen voters vote to ditch IRV - "65.3 percent, said IRV should go, while 880, or 34.7 percent of voters, said they wanted to keep it." "But critics have said the method is flawed because, they say, it is more prone to “non-monotonicity,” a mathematical phenomenon that can cause a candidate who received fewer votes than other candidates to win."
The Aspen Daily News - City voters repeal IRV - "A large majority of Aspen voters have rejected instant runoff voting for city elections, opting instead to go back to the June runoff system."