Notes on the public hearing:
The fiscal policy note was posted a couple of days before. It estimated that RCV would cost the county $1.7M and the state $162,000, and that Approval would cost the county $1M and the state nothing. This is a drop in the bucket, but it is consistent with the idea that Approval would be an easier change than RCV. That said, opponents of the bill often cited the cost as an issue.
Several local NGOs came out to support the bill, but it was all focused on “ranked choice voting” (which they of course conflated with IRV specifically). They generally used the generic arguments that sound good to people who haven’t thought about it much, such as ‘it eliminates the spoiler effect’ and ‘it ensures a winner with majority support’. They didn’t really mention why IRV and not Approval (or some other RCV counting algorithm). The delegates themselves were aware that there were other ways of counting ranked ballots, though.
The “RCV increases turnout” argument raised eyebrows.
The opponents were generally Republicans who thought that the council would just use the ability to choose the voting method to give themselves an advantage, citing the (admittedly severe) gerrymandering as reason not to trust them. (Although often gerrymandering was used in a whataboutist Some of them were pretty unhinged, though. For example, one compared the amendment to hold a campaign to educate voters about whatever system gets implemented to “reeducation camps in North Korea”. “One person, one vote” was fallaciously invoked. Some were concerned about the money (which was a drop in the bucket, of course). A lot of them were focused on how complicated tabulating IRV is. “I challenge [Delegate Luedke] to explain RCV in 3 sentences.” Approval didn’t really come up at all.