Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Now is the Spring of our discontent....

Haik Bedrosian/ had it first about Kurt Wright's call to end the IRV Mayoral Recount. The reasons for stopping the count last night are given in today's Burlington Free Press/Briggs story.
City Councilor Kurt Wright called off a recount Tuesday night and conceded his instant-runoff loss to Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss.

With about half of the wards tabulated, Wright congratulated Kiss on his victory and asked for the recount to be halted, Chief Administrative Officer Jonathan Leopold said late Tuesday.

Leopold said that with about 43 percent of the votes recounted, the difference between the hand count and the March 3 machine count was about five votes.

“It was clear that the totals were coming in so accurately compared to the machine count that it wasn’t going to affect the outcome,” Leopold said.

Wright said earlier in the day that he requested the recount, “not for me, but at the request of a tremendous amount of citizens who really strongly urged me to do it. I was ready to move on.”

Wright, a Republican, lost to Kiss by a final margin of 252 votes, 4,313 to 4,061 on March 3. That difference amounted to 2.8 percent of the 8,976 valid ballots cast, well within the 5 percent difference in votes established by the Legislature as the threshold for recounts. Only 27 percent of registered voters participated in the election.

Wright called for the recount, in part, to test the accuracy of the instant-runoff system that propelled Kiss, a Progressive, to re-election.

“I hope the recount will confirm the integrity of the process and give citizens a level of comfort with how the system works,” he said.

This report doesn't jive with Wright's email to Haik last Friday:--
... I do agree with people like yourself Haik who believe this is the right opportunity to take a close look at how the system worked. This is not about me, it is about the process. I accept the result and am gratified to have come so close...

If Kurt had already accepted the results of the vote on March 3, why did he concede last night? He didn't think the recount would change the outcome. Clearly in his email to Haik, he wanted the recount to test the process. But how can we be contented with the process when when the recount was called off before completion? 43% is not "about half."

“It was clear that the totals were coming in so accurately compared to the machine count that it wasn’t going to affect the outcome,” Leopold said.

When the recount was halted, we were told that the difference was 5 votes. How can it be claimed that "the totals were coming in so accurately"? How does this compare to other recounts when an IRV recount has never before happened in Burlington? The votes from Wards 4 and 7 have been left uncounted; it is from these wards where Kurt received most support. Why weren't those crucial votes recounted?


  1. Fucking pathetic. I don't know what else to say. Kurt Wright is a joke.

  2. I was at the recount last night, and I believe the reason Kurt called a halt to it, was that it became obvious to everyone in the room as the recount went along that the system worked properly and that more voters preferred Kiss than Wright. Some people have noted that a bit over 6% of voters didn't rank either Kiss or Wright, so their ballots became "exhuated" (basically they sat out the final runoff). This is a much smaller drop-off than typical for separate runoff elections. And if Burlington had used pluraltiy rules (voters just pick one candidate, with no majority requirement), then the rate of "exhausted" ballots would have been 38% since all of the voters who selected Montroll, Smith and Simpson would be dismissed as irrelevant voters. IRV worked extremely well.

  3. BlueVoter, thanks for the comment.


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