Tuesday, July 7, 2009

IRV advocates are a bunch of bitchy little girls!

I guess if Rob Richie can compare IRV to American Idol, I can compare IRV advocates to "Burn Notice".

"Burn Notice", airing on the USA Network, stars Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, and Bruce Campbell. Bruce Campbell has been one of my favorite actors since playing Ashley J. "Ash" Williams in the cult classic "Army of Darkness". On "Burn Notice", Campbell portrays Sam Axe, a former Navy SEAL now working as an unlicensed private investigator and sometime mercenary with his old friend Michael Westen, the show's main character.

You can see what a charming character Sam is in the opening intro to the show on USA (can't find a clip on youtube or USA for it). Sam is drinking a beer and complaining about spies: "You know spies. Bunch of bitchy little girls" Which could also describe how some IRV advocates have been acting lately, based on their latest posts.

When Brad Freidman wrote last month that Instant Runoff Voting was a virus attacking Los Angeles, I blogged that this was probably, in the words of Churchill, the "end of the beginning" for IRV. And rightly so. Already IRV is under assault in the very places that FairVote has been citing as shining examples of where IRV is in use and works - even if they haven't fully used IRV to both cast AND count votes.

Cary NC is not going to use IRV in their 2009 election. Fayetteville NC is also not going to use IRV this year. And there is a good chance that Hendersonville NC voters won't even need to rank choices this year - so no IRV there either. They would be like Takoma Park - where there either aren't enough choices on the ballot to rank, or they get a majority winner in the first round and don't need to use the complicated and confusing counting method.

There is movement in the communities of Aspen CO, Burlington VT and Pierce County WA to get rid of IRV. And now word is coming that San Francisco is thinking about getting rid of IRV. A different version of IRV called Single Transferable Voting was soundly rejected by voters in a British Columbia referendum.

IRV advocates are not happy about this. From what I am seeing, resources are being re-routed all around the country to do two things:

  • to fight to keep IRV in places where it has been used and failed; and
  • to add more places that will use IRV by pointing to alleged successes where it has been used in the past.

I have it on good authority that FairVoteNC has no more paid staff - it's an all volunteer outfit now!

This presents big problems for IRV advocates like Rob Richie of FairVote. They are trying to sell IRV in Los Angeles - which would be the biggest jurisdiction to use IRV. But IRV presents big problems in a place like Los Angeles with a million voters or more. They use inkavote machines that have many problems with them, so LA would most likely have to buy new voting machines. Problem is, there is no federally certified voting systems that do IRV.

LA could go with the same Sequoia machines they use in San Francisco, but that presents problems because those machines probably won't be around much longer under the new Holt paper ballot bill recently introduced in Congress. So buying Sequoia machines now would be a big waste of money that LA can't afford to waste just to do IRV.

Frisco has a couple of official languages they print up ballots for - LA has somewhere around 8 or 10, and lots of literacy issues. From talking with election officials in LA, they really don't want to spend the money on IRV all the time when they might not have a runoff in every office. LA City has their city primary in March, and their general election in May - when there are other county wide elections in November. They could save a lot of money and increase turnout merely by syncing their city elections with the rest of the county and do without IRV.

So IRV advocates like Rob Richie and others are out there doing damage control. But what they write and how they write it makes them sound - in the words of Sam Axe - like a bunch of bitchy little girls.

Rob Richie's latest "huff piece" in the Huffington Post claims that all IRV opponents are special interests that are opposed to electoral reform. This of course implies that all IRV advocates are shining knights on white chargers of electoral reform opposing the black knights of special interest, and that IRV opponents can only win by "cheating" (coming up with loads of special interest money for runoff elections if needed). Of course, Richie's "huff pieces" on IRV don't allow for anyone to comment one way or the other. Perhaps because he doesn't want anyone who reads his stuff to see there is another side to the issue?

Of course Rob has to take the relative high road by calling us "special interests" - he leaves the petty name-calling to others. We are not "special interest" - we are verified voting advocates who work hard to protect election integrity. At "the end of the beginning", all that hard work is starting to pay off by getting more and more people to see how IRV threatens election integrity. And it's starting to get to IRV supporters a little further down the totem pole from Rob Richie. They are calling us "haters", as if to imply that we hate IRV and all other election reforms.

That is not true. I am not a tool of the special interests and I don't "hate" IRV. I am verified voting advocate who "loves" election simple, transparent voting who works hard to protect election integrity.

One thing you can say about verified voting advocates is that we "trust, but verify". Which is what gives IRV advocates fits. We don't automatically assume that IRV is the election reform Rob and others claim that it is, or that it does all the things he claims it does. Hell - I don't automatically trust each and everything that other verified voting activists claim either. And we do the same for Rob Richie - we try to verify the claims Rob and others make. And if we can't verify the claims time and time again, it's hard to be able to trust the people or organizations making the claims.

But IRV advocate Anthony "Doe" Lorenzo really takes the cake. This is where the "bitchy little girl" part comes in. In the electionreform yahoo group, Anthony wrote that everyone who advocates for IRV is a third-party/independent voter who work passionately for electoral reform through IRV and/or proportional representation, and that all IRV opponents in verified voting are Democrats who align themselves with special interests. He also wrote that verified voting advocates who don't like IRV "hate" IRV advocates because they are better organized than verified voting advocates. You can almost imagine himself hyperventilating himself into a hissy fit as he wrote that part.

Then he wrote about why Rob supports IRV - apparently it was because his daddy worked on a campaign for proportional representation in OH back in the early 90s that failed. Anthony claims that in this campaign, Rob and his wife had to sleep on couches in other people's houses. Apparently, these and other negative experiences so scarred Rob Richie and turned him into the "one trick pony" advocate who works IRV into every single thing he writes - including obituaries for John Gideon. Rob's carrying on his daddy's work! While that might be a wonderful story for some people, I still remember that we are in Iraq because George W. Bush wanted to finish what his daddy started in the early 90s during the first Iraq War. Sounds like "daddy issues" to me. And I thought only the women I dated in my late 20's had those problems! ;-)

So it makes me wonder is Rob Richie's passion for IRV and the whole FairyTaleVote agenda is because he really feels it's an election reform, or is it because Rob has "daddy issues" and needs to avenge his father's failure to get proportional representation in Cincinatti in 1991 (apparently it failed in 2008 also). If something isn't a real election reform, having a second generation family member doing it doesn't make it any more worthwhile. I don't hate IRV supporters. But reading these written hissy fits and being called names on line makes me pity them all the more.

It can't be easy getting your asses kicked by an all volunteer group of IRV opponents - so call us "special interests" and even "haters" and have a good cry if it makes you feel better!

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