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Is anyone working on election reform at the local and state level?

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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 12:33 PM
Original message
Is anyone working on election reform at the local and state level?
Let's face it a better election system leads to better officials, and better officials leads to better policies. And none of this stuff is going to originate on the Hill under **

http://timeforachange.bluelemur.com/electionreform.htm

We tried again to get instant runoff voting here in Maine but the price tag didn't go over well. **'s desctruction of the economy can be thanked for that.

I spoke once to our election official in my tiny town about IRV. She had never even heard of it. I am going to try talking with her again.
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
1. Voter Confidence Committee of Humboldt County, CA
www.voterconfidencecommittee.org

also see this press release about Arcata adopting the Voter Confidence Resolution:

http://guvwurld.blogspot.com/2005/07/press-release-arca...
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Glad other people are still working on this at lower levels of gov't
Thanks for posting this. :)
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. Thank YOU. This is an excellent thread topic.
We should be sharing local strategies. We are working on IRV for Eureka, CA and have gotten a lot of help from Californians for Election Reform - http://www.cfer.org - and also California IRV Coalition - http://www.calirv.org . You should be able to find resources based on experience that can help you with a local IRV campaign.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. As WLI pointed out below, IRV has some flaws. If you followed the link in
my OP at the bottom of the page is a list of different types of ranked voting formats. The one called Condorcet leads to a page that explains some of the issues with IRV.

Still, I would take IRV over plurality voting, but only with the idea that I would push for something even better after that change was made.
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I'm familiar with Condorcet and Borda.
The Voter Confidence Committee went through a period of evaluation to determine which preferential voting method we would support. For a variety of reasons we are now advocating IRV for our Mayor's seat and Choice Voting (Single Transferable Vote) for school board and City Council (which also requires we abandon our ward system). We are talking loudly about proportional representation.

I recognize there is a very intellectual, healthy debate about these and other tabulation methods but I can't engage in it at this time.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Just as long as you know about the other options. Me I don't mind
going for IRV here in Maine because we have healthy third parties and publicly funded elections, so our third parties have a chance of getting into office.
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wli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. is there any record of the debate which sided on IRV?
I'm curious as to what criteria were being used to judge it, what arguments used to advance it, etc.
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. Fair question, but no
It was an informal, internal discussion
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #10
29. What about issues with software, and consequently audits for fraud?
A number of software developers have expressed serious concern about verifiability, accuracy, acountability, and that IRV would make it even harder to deal with the software issues with the vendors.
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. I am not familiar with specifics about that
That too is a debate that I am not equipped for at this time.
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wli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 03:07 AM
Response to Reply #29
31. this probably centers around the summability criterion
The summability criterion has a direct effect on practical implementation of recounts and the like. There are other issues no tabulation method ("election method" or "voting system") can address.
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skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
3. For MA, there should be very little cost...
I remember reading in the HAVA report that our Diebold (ick) opscans were capable of IRV.

We do have a group -- see here:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

...doesn't address the fraud issue though.

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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Definitely have to address the fraud issue. Thanks for the link :^)
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 01:00 PM by GreenPartyVoter
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
4. yes, here are a list of groups
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wli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
5. IRV is seriously flawed, please push Schulze/CSSD or similar
IRV is vulnerable to gerrymandering and does not fully address the spoiler effect.

There is also not enough talk about proportional representation in legislature.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Agreed, as you can see on the link in my OP. I prefer
condorcet or Borda voting to straight IRV, myself, but IRV is what most reform groups are pushing for in my state. WHether they will listen to me on that note I am note sure. (The Greens might, since IRV doesn't really favor third parties.)
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skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #7
18. I wouldn't dwell on technicalities.
Consider the practical aspects of it. IRV is a step up, it is simple and easy to understand, and a lot of the equipment is already capable of handling it.

Complicating the matter isn't going to help. What these organizations face is not a technical challenge, but a logistical and PR one. They have to find a seed area (like party primaries in county X) where the people (and the clerks) will be proactively willing to try out IRV, they have to carefully select where the initial trials take place, and they have to do everything in their power to make it go smoothly so that people don't get a bad first impression. There have been failed attempts in the past which have set back the movement towards better voting.

All this is more than enough to deal with, so I doubt they will be too interested in arguing theory. Or if they are, I doubt their organization will ever meet its goals.


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wli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. don't be so sure
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 03:59 PM by wli
IRV is inferior to raw plurality voting in certain crucial respects.

ON EDIT:

These respects are resistance to gerrymandering (it fails the consistency criterion), the participation criterion (it may advance your preferred candidate more to refrain from voting than to vote), and the monotonicity criterion (ranking a candidate lower can actually increase its chances of winning).

Other poor aspects of IRV are resistance to the spoiler effect (it fails local independence of irrelevant alternatives) and the Condorcet criterion (if a candidate would win against every other candidate pairwise, it must win).
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skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Again, consider the practical implications.
I don't contest that IRV has issues. The question is, would an implementation of IRV be practical, and would it improve things GIVEN THE SYSTEM AS SET UP NOW, with separate party primary elections, IN THE LOCAL SEATS.

If you don't understand the difference between incremental reform and flailing endlessly in search of instant perfection while nothing actually gets done about an immediate problem, then don't bother reading the rest of this reply.

Because I'm not interested in talking about theories only you and I and other people who are mathematically inclined understand. A lot of the drawbacks attributed to IRV are based on the supposition that a large proportion of the general public will "do the math" and vote strategically. While they do vote strategically now, it is only because it is immediately obvious to anyone with any level of functional intellect how to do so. Sure as a population we get smarter over time, but our immediate needs are not that complex.

Moreover, the confidence of the electorate needs to be restored. If you need a math or engineering degree to understand the system, it is not a viable system, because it does not meet this non-technical criteria. Until a large body of people who understand the system gains the public trust enough to transfer that trust to the voting
system, a transparent and easily understandable system is mandatory. Most everyone today can wrap their head around a run-off election.

IRV eventually will have to be replaced -- as the demand for large candidate counts increases, the summability criterion will create a demand for a more easy system of compartmentalized reporting. This will happen gradually, over time, and will represent a problem officials will view as "needing an upgrade" rather than rocking the boat. This will probably happen before IRV is used in any large regional or statewide elections, and it may be helped by public pressure due to the popularity of IRV in local elections, should it prove popular.

Implementing IRV clears the initial hurdle of getting the system to change, and knocks the legs out from under the "this is how we always have done it" mindset.

I cannot see where, given the types of elections we have today, the IRV failures would plausibly result in an extremely large failure rate of elections, and since it is very likely to take 5 to 10 years minimum to get IRV implemented statewide for local elections, by the time we start looking at regionals, the current equipment will be obselete and no longer a factor in selecting the technique itself.


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wli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #23
28. IRV is inferior to raw plurality by these three metrics
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 07:56 PM by wli
The specific metrics it flunks that plurality passes are:
1. consistency: IRV is vulnerable to gerrymandering where plurality isn't
2. participation: abstaining can help a candidate more than voting for them
3. monotonicity: lower rankings can boost a candidate's chances

Raw plurality is easy enough to understand. The only criterion IRV passes that plurality does not is the Condorcet loser criterion (the Condorcet criterion with reverse rankings determining a necessary loser).

ON EDIT: I do sort of see a point. IRV at least gets ranked voting's foot in the door, then maybe you can say the tabulation method should be changed later (e.g. for CSSD).
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:19 PM
Response to Original message
11. Gathering To Save Our Democracy in Tennessee. Lots going on...
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 01:20 PM by Fly by night
... and I will post about it later on this thread, which is the third reason I have today for summarizing and updatig a description of our activity here in the Orange State.

Good thread -- hope to hear from many other states.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Excellent!
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #11
22. A brief review of our activities, submitted for the Portland conference.
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 04:12 PM by Fly by night
Thinking Patriotically, Acting Locally (and NOW)
Bernard H. Ellis, Jr., MA, MPH, Organizer
Gathering To Save Our Democracy (Tennessee)

For election reform to be successful (particularly at this point in our history), it must be done "in our own backyards". This is both because the conduct of elections is essentially a local or state decision and because the current political party in power in our nation's capital is blocking all efforts to reform our voting process through amendments to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

There are many useful models of local and state-level reform movements to protect our votes and rescue our democracy. In Tennessee, our nine-month organization (Gathering To Save Our Democracy) is one such example. Created as a response to the 51 Capitals March grassroots effort to bring attention to the 2004 election theft, the Gathering focused its early attention on educating the public and increasing media attention to the evidence for the multi-state election fraud that characterized the last election. This early activity resulted in 33 public Gatherings across the state, considerable media attention and direct actions at the offices of our Congressional representatives and our Federal courthouses across the state. This early activity helped us build an email database including hundreds of Tennesseans (representing six different political parties) who were concerned about the integrity of our election process. It also allowed us to host the National Election Reform Conference in Nashville in April, which brought voting rights activists from 30 states to review the evidence for the stolen election and to share strategies for protecting our votes in the future.

With this groundwork and a host of early successes and momentum-building activities, the Gathering has now launched itself fully into election reform here in Tennessee and is recognized as the major player in supporting voter-verified paper ballots and mandatory random manual recounts. The timing in Tennessee (and in all states) is critical because decisions on how to spend our $56 million in HAVA funds to "upgrade" our voting systems are being made now. My presentation will review some of the critical steps that we believe have been important in building a successful and respected voice for election reform in the Orange State, including the following:

1) Establishing a nonpartisan platform for action Everyone who believes in the "consent of the governed" has a stake in free, fair and verifiable elections. In Tennessee, that has meant visible support from members of six political parties.

2) Coalition building We forged alliances with Common Cause, NAACP, Urban League, Tennessee Disabled Voters and a host of progressive organizations. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, we have grounded our activity in the proud history of voting rights activism for which our state is known.

3) Making friends with the disabled voter community Many states have experienced an uneasy tension between the accessibility concerns of disabled voters and the accountability concerns of election reformers. Here, we have worked to educate ourselves and to support both issues, as do our allies within the disabled voter community.

4) Education for action We continuously provide both issue-oriented educational updates and opportunities for activism to our membership on the local, state and national levels. We are known as rational and informed advocates.

5) Learning the process We have delved deeply into the different voting systems in place in our 95 counties and learned the process whereby changes in those systems would occur. In the process, we have found natural allies.

6) Legislative action Through a series of lobbying activities with our legislature, we have made friends and cultivated supporters on both sides of the aisle, resulting in growing bipartisan support for VVPB/MRMR.

7) Framing "election reform" as part of "ethics reform" Our legislature has received national attention for its lax ethical behavior. We are working to make election reform the foundation from which all other ethics reform springs.

8) Befriending county/state election commissioners and administrators This has included making our presence known at local/state election commission meetings and playing a visible role at the statewide election officials convention.

9) Staying on top of the issue There are many online election reform communities with which we are familiar and within which we are recognized as competent "players" in this newest generation of the voting rights movement.

10) Being a "trusted servant" We are now used regularly as a model by activists across the country in their own efforts to build similar grassroots movements. We are also considered an informational "ready response" team

My presentation will flesh out these Gathering activities within the constraints of the time-frame and format. We trust that our experiences will be informative to other states which are launching or refining their own reform approaches.

Bernard H. Ellis, Jr., MA, MPH: Mr. Ellis is the organizer for the Tennessee grassroots organization, Gathering To Save Our Democracy. This ad-hoc, nonpartisan group has worked to educate Tennesseans about the evidence for voter intimidation and disenfranchisement -- and other elements of election fraud -- that occurred in the 2004 election (and before), and to inform and mobilize Tennesseans to support the reforms necessary to prevent such abuses of our franchise in the future. Mr. Ellis is a public health epidemiologist (and a farmer and community leader) with over 30 years of research and program management experience at the tribal, state, national and international levels. He did his undergraduate study at Vanderbilt, and his graduate work at Vanderbilt, Texas, Stanford and UC-Berkeley.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
14. Another page about ranked voting.. this one is pro IRV from fairvote.org
Dr. Kenneth Arrow won a Nobel Prize for proving, in essence, that there's no such thing as a perfect voting system. What this means is that every voting system has flaws, and every voting system has strengths and weaknesses. This also means that for any voting system, it's possible to manufacture particular examples where a candidate wins who common sense suggests should not win.

The best voting system for a particular situation depends on what you value and what you are trying to accomplish, and not surprisingly, some people differ greatly in their assessments of this.

For example, plurality voting -- the most common voting system in the United States, in which the high vote-getter wins, even if less than a majority -- only measures the amount of intense, core support a candidate has. Breadth of support is irrelevant.

On the other hand, another system, called Condorcet, only measures breadth of support and ignores how strong the support is. A Condorcet winner may not be the favorite candidate of any voter, but the person would have to compare favorably in head-to-head matchups with each of the other candidates.

Instant runoff voting is actually a compromise between these two extremes: it requires sufficient core support to avoid elimination and enough broad support to win a majority of the votes.

This is all to say that different voting systems achieve different goals, and since there are many possible goals that we seek to achieve through voting systems, it's not surprising that no one system is perfect for all of them.

For example, what you look for in a mayor of a city might be quite than from what you want in a treasurer for a private organization. And that might be different than what you want in trying to pick a time that members of a committee can meet at. In each of these cases, you could use a voting system to pick the mayor, treasurer or meeting time, but you might not seek the same qualities in each, so you might select different voting systems.

The rest of this page describes alternatives single winner systems and contains some links to additional information about them. It is not an exhaustive discussion of the strengths, weaknesses and suitabilities of these systems.

The two most common single-winner systems in the United States are:

Plurality voting, where each voter casts a vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins, even if it's less than a majority.

Two round runoff, where each voter casts a vote for one candidate, and a runoff is held between the top two candidates if no candidate receives a majority (or some other threshold, such as 40%) of the votes cast.

The Center supports the use of instant runoff voting for single-seat offices in public elections. Voters rank candidates in order of choice, winning requires a majority of the votes, and candidates are successively eliminated and ballots are recounted if no candidate receives a majority in a round.

A Borda Count is the technical name for the voting system in which a first place vote is worth 4 points, a 2nd is worth 3 points, a 3rd 2 points and a 4th is worth 1 point. The candidate receiving the most points wins. The Borda Count is often used to rank sports teams or to induct athletes into halls of fame. One problem with the Borda Count is that ranking a less preferred choice will count againt your favorite choice.

In Approval Voting, each voter can approve of (vote for) as many candidates as she supports. The candidate with the greatest approval wins. Approval voting only measures whether or not a candidate is acceptable to the voter; it does not distinguish between a candidate who is intensely liked - a first choice - and those who are more weakly approved of -- second and lower choices. While simple in design, approval voting creates incentives for complex campaign strategies.
It also could result in the defeat of a candidate whom an absolute majority support as their first choice.

The Condorcet rule elects the candidate who can top each of the others in a series of head-to-head contests. If most voters prefer (rank) A over B, A wins that contest. The rankings are used to determine the winner of each possible head-to-head contest. The Condorcet rules suffers from the Condorcet Paradox: there may not be any candidate who defeats all the others: A might beat B, B might beat C, and yet C could beat A. In this case, some other system must be used to resolve the paradox. In addition, the Condorcet candidate might be one with so little core support that he or she would never have been able to win under any of the single-winner voting systems currently used for all governmental elections in the United States and other nations.
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wli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. the characterizations of Condorcet are misleading
Edited on Thu Jul-28-05 02:26 PM by wli
Condorcet isn't actually a decisive election method. Strictly speaking it produces multiple winners (the Schwarz set). The choices among the Schwarz set determine the specific method (e.g. CSSD, RP).

The "Condorcet paradox" is nothing remotely unique or interesting; Arrow's theorem subsumes it, and its implication is merely that the Schwarz set may not be a singleton, i.e. that the "strict Condorcet" may produce multiple winners. It is also a fact that the practical Condorcet methods (Schulze/CSSD, Ranked Pairs) satisfy the Majority Criterion, which implies that if there is a majority, then the candidate holding the majority must win.

The statement "the Condorcet candidate might be one with so little core support that he or she would never have been able to win under any of the single-winner voting systems currently used" is patently false. Schulze in particular has much to commend it, as it explicitly drops the weakest pairwise defeat until a decisive set of pairwise contests is obtained, in what amounts to a very careful tradeoff of voter preferences by strength.

And the fact is, that if you do a rundown of the suitability criteria passed by various methods, IRV loses hands-down to both Schulze/CSSD and Ranked Pairs; every criterion passed by IRV is passed by Schulze/CSSD and Ranked Pairs, and IRV flunks several criteria Schulze/CSSD and Ranked Pairs pass. What's even worse is that IRV flunks more criteria than simple plurality.

ON EDIT: Corrected Condorcet paradox claim.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. You should write up a paper for them so that they can add that info
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wli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. there are a number of election method comparison papers already
They're also written by experts in election theory (a branch of mathematical economics, like the Malliavin calculus theories of finance), so I highly doubt anything I write would have any credibility in comparison.

But there is an issue with these, in particular that few normative judgments are made, and in fact some cautions are made against judging election methods by checklists of criteria passed in particular due to the relative severities of the potential exploits. This caution is again not a strict rule, as there are certain criteria that are not negotiable. First, the consistency criterion is resistance to gerrymandering, which is one that should not be ignored under any circumstance. Second, the summability criterion bears a direct relationship to the verifiability (and also expense) of the election process, and so should not be negotiable. Third, the Condorcet criterion is not negotiable either; this is that when a single Condorcet winner exists, that is a candidate who, when compared to any other candidate in a pairwise contest, wins all such pairwise contests, it should be chosen. The Condorcet criterion is very distinct from Condorcet's own method or any particular Condorcet-compliant method. For instance, consider holding separate elections for every pair of candidates among the candidates A, B, and C. Candidate A beats B in the A vs. B election. Candidate A beats C in the A vs. C election. Candidate B beats candidate C in the B vs. C election. The Condorcet criterion says that a compliant method should choose A. When this kind of situation doesn't exist, then the Condorcet criterion doesn't say who should win. That's how simple, common-sense, and limited the Condorcet criterion is (it should also be clear it only makes sense with ranked voting methods and the like).

It's also notable that IRV flunks all three of these criteria I say are non-negotiable.
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GentryLange Donating Member (98 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #19
24. Spot checked hand countable
I've always felt like random hand counts to check the machines, with expanding audit powers would be the way to go.

Say the optical scan, but with publicly owned open source code with random hand counts.... precinct level totals posted along with the many eyes method at the precinct level where random boxes are pulled and hand-counted publicly. Where the precinct is small enough, hand counted paper ballots make since. In larger precinct, machine counted with random hand count audits make sense. The machines aren't the problem though, it's the corporate control, and a citizenry that doesn't participate and seize control.

Anyway, anyone know why I can't post a thread? Do I need special clearance?

BTW, anyone with Andy's photo as an avatar is a friend of mine... please add me to your friend's list as you see fit. I was his campaign manager, and I just joined DU.

Thanks.... Gentry
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GentryLange Donating Member (98 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. State Level Groups
The most active states seem to be:

Maryland
Ohio
California
Colorado
Washington (though we aren't very organized, or cohesive)


I put together a list at one time, for AndyStephenson.com, and would like to do another soon. Seems to me a lot of state level links go out of date, the group breaks down, etc. Would love to get a page up that was like the motherload of all link pages at the state level for organizing on voting reform issues.

Anyone who would like to help with this email me directly.

Thanks... Gentry
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wli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. that's physical security of the vote, not the election method
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #24
32. Hi Gentry. So glad you have joined us here. *hugs* So many of
us are determined to follow through on Andy's dream and see this system and gov't whipped into shape. As far as I am concerned, he is the face of our movement.
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 09:16 AM
Response to Reply #24
35. random audits not enough
While we are glad to get random audits legislated, we all know that this will miss much of the fraud.

Why make elections less transparent, for the Green Party?

I wish people would study these election reforms thoroughly with an open mind before pushing them.

IRV will only make fraud easier to hide, and dillute the democratic vote by disenfranchising a large percentage of minorities.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 07:07 PM
Response to Original message
25. Yes, yes and yes! working to get mandatory manual random audit.
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 09:14 AM
Response to Reply #25
34. with IRV audit of electronic voting would be 3 to 5 times worse
IRV with hand counted paper ballots would be ok, but used with electronic voting just leads us into a situation where resistance to
auditing election will be gigantic.

IRV also will cause greater loss of the minority vote, at least based on what happened in San Francisco, which had a 2 year lead up to IRV, and still voters were not prepared.


Our energy shouldn't be poured into making electronic voting more complicated and less auditable, it should be towards getting paper ballots, and preferably hand counted paper ballots.

If we can't have election integrity, IRV only makes it worse.
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
33. IRV or Instant Republican Victory
IRV should stand for Instant Republican Victory, because that is what it will do. It detracts from the real problem, integrity of elections.

The term "Instant Runoff Voting" is a mis-nomer, just a feel good sort of name that doesn't deliver.
The San Francisco Department of Elections prefers the term "Ranked Choice Voting"
because getting results was hardly instant as is promoted.
(Scan half way down - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting )

Proponents say:

1. that IRV is fairer to voters
2. that IRV will save the states money by replacing runoff elections with new way of voting
3. that we need IRV


1. Is IRV fairer to voters?

According to the Dec 2004 report by the Public Research Institute at San Francisco University:

Education, income, race and language tied to understanding of IRV

Overall, 1 in 8 expressed some lack in understanding of IRV.

Understanding of IRV by all voters polled
nearly 1/3 (31%) of voters who came to the polls did not know they would be asked to rank candidates
about 1/2 (52%) of those surveyed said they understood RCV "perfectly well"
35% said they understood it "fairly well"
11% said they "did not understand it entirely"
3% said they "did not understand it at all".

116,795 voters would not know they would be asked to rank candidates
184,042 voters would understand RCV "perfectly well"
123,874 voters would understand RCV "fairly well"
38,932 voters would say they did not understand it entirely
10,617 voters would say they did not understand it at all

Breakdown by race - of voters reporting a lack of understanding
African Americans (23%)
Latinos (19%)
"Other" racial/ethinic groups (17%)
Asian (13%)
White (12%)
Percent of voters who actually ranked candidates
59% reported ranking three candidates
14% reported ranking two candidates
23% reported ranking only one candidate
The self-reported incidence of ranking three candidates was lowest among
African Americans, Latinos, voters with less education, and those whose first language was not english.

The lack of prior knowledge, understanding, and full use of the Ranked-Choice system among some groups
of citizens are concerns that should capture the focus of citizens and government alike and shape efforts to find
remedies in future elections.
http://pri.sfsu.edu/reports/SFSU-PRI%20Ranked%20Choice%...

The big problem with IRV is that the winner is very often a candidate who would have lost to one or more of the other candidates in a one to one contest. This is not just anoccasional problem but would likely happen frequently.
http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-...

There is more than meets the eye to IRV:
IRV gives Third Parties an unproportional amount of political power
IRV requires deliberate strategy of ranking of votes (voter ed critical here)
IRV gives rise to Vote-Brokering
IRV is too complex and expensive for our present voting infrastructure
IRV avails itself to election manipulation by strategically placing candidates in a certain order
popular candidates can be defeated even though they would have normally won an IRV election
http://www.utahpolitics.org/archives/000173.shtml

IRV is experimental right now.
San Francisco did it, and they re-named it Ranked Choice Voting, because it was not instant.
San Francisco was also forced to use un-certified software because the federally certified software
could not count all of the votes.

Pushing IRV is also a push for touchscreen voting, which could cost millions or billions, and would steer states away from optical scan voting which has been proven to be more accurate, less vulnerable to fraud, and recountable.

Let us correct the REAL problems with voting,which hardly needs to be complicated by an un-auditable system.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-05 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #33
36. I agree verifiability is problem numero uno, but plurality voting is
not the best choice we can make.

As far as IRV or choice voting, most third graders I know can handle it. "What flavor ice cream do you want on the last day of school? If you can't have that, then what would you prefer? And if you can't have that, then what would you like?"

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