Diamon posits the case of the person who truly has no preference between the Democrat and the Republican. Diamon is right that IRV will not give immediate power to those who want radical change, but this shortcoming is shared with OSO. A difference between the two systems is that while things are not likely to ever change with OSO because candidates that voters are afraid to vote for lest something calamitous happen will always be candidates voters are afraid to vote for, change in a longer term is possible with IRV. People who see no difference between presumed frontrunners; because ideologically they are insufficiently distinguishable or because though there are differences the differences will not result in improvement in their lives; have no reason to vote in OSO elections and frequently don't. However, if such people see that there is a movement of dissent from business-as-usual they have reason to join that movement to try to turn it into a voice with power. Their vote might not make a difference today, but with IRV they have a legitimate hope that in time it will. People with hope are more likely to vote than people resigned to unhappiness however they vote; and given this country's chronic crisis of low voter turnout anything ethical that might bring more people to the polls should be worth considering.
Diamon's objection that calculating IRV results would take agonizingly long is perhaps his weakest. The horror stories — Florida 2000; Minnesota Senate race in 2008; came out of not IRV but OSO. The former was created at least in part by ballots that were intentionally or recklessly designed to confuse voters, machines or both. Use ballots that are clear, as we do in Maine, and vote tabulation is reasonably fast and simple, even under IRV.
Very evenly divided electorates such that recounts are needed are going to slow determination of a winner under almost any system. But if democracy, determining the will of the people, matters then taking necessary time should matter. This will be no more likely under IRV than OSO.
Finally, though Diamon does not address this IRV is guaranteed to add some level of civility to elections. In OSO candidates have little reason to be nice — support from any other candidate or any other candidate's base of support is irrelevant, the fight is to get the biggest plurality. And so, far too many races are contests to try to make opponents look bad because if I can get some of their votes and reach 39% and no one else gets more than 38% I win, even if 61% really hate me. In IRV, however, there is always the risk that I will not get 50% on the first round of tabulations, in which case I am going to need support from voters who did not choose me first. If I have spent the campaign insulting them and their candidates I am probably not going to be anyone's second choice. If I want to be a second choice for the most number of people — which is likely going to be what it will take to win — I will have to think twice about being nasty; I will have to be someone voters could support as a second or third choice. Except in races where one candidate clearly has more than 50% support the quality of campaigning will improve in IRV elections.
, Politics, elections