Re: [FairVoteMD] a victory and not (yet) a victory

Andrew Cameron wallahoopi at
Tue, 20 Mar 2001 09:42:56 -0800 (PST)

Hi Eric,

 I just skimmed the report also. One thing that jumped
out at me was on page 53, they mention a "Maryland
Voting Systems Procurement Manual" but don't say how
to get it. Have you heard of it or do you know how to
get it? It seems like we might try to get in touch
with the folks who write that and get something put in
about ensuring the machines are compatible with IRV.

Andrew Cameron

PS: Do you have more information about the use of IRV
in Maryland primaries? Is it on your website or could
you post it to the list?

--- wrote:
> An update on instant runoff voting and electoral
> reform in Maryland:
> First, the bad news.  Sen. Paul Pinsky's bill, SB
> 233, to implement instant 
> runoff voting for most federal and state elections
> in the state, did not pass 
> out of the Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs
> Committee (basically, we 
> can only improve in future years).  Let's just say
> that this was an 
> educational year and we will come back with renewed
> vigor and determination 
> next year.  And more importantly, when the General
> Assembly is out of 
> session, let's target key legislators, meet with
> them and prime them for 
> reintroduction of the bill next year.  After all,
> it's rare when a bill gets 
> much attention in its first year of introduction and
> these reforms take time 
> to build.
> For anyone who was writing their legislator about SB
> 233, please do not stop 
> simply because the bill didn't pass out of
> committee.  Legislators still need 
> to hear from us.
> Second, the good news is that the recommendations of
> the Special Committee on 
> Voting Systems and Elections Procedures in Maryland
> has become public. 
> See: 
> This was the committee chaired by Secretary of State
> John Willis, which was 
> charged with recommending improvements to voting
> technology for the state.  
> (It wasn't charged with voting SYSTEM reforms, but
> voting machines and the 
> like...).  Nonetheless, one of the most important
> things for our cause is to 
> ensure that new voting machines will be compatible
> with ranked choice ballots 
> so instant runoff voting and forms of proportional
> representation will be 
> possible in the future.  Without the capacity for
> voting machines to handle 
> ranked ballots, we would be closed out of these
> reforms for years to come.
> In the report, which I have looked at but not
> digested yet, they recommend 
> voting machines that can be made compatible with
> ranked ballots with the 
> proper software -- direct recording electronic
> machines for polling places 
> and optical scanners for absentee voting.  We STILL
> need to ensure that if 
> and when Maryland puts out a Request for Proposals
> (RFP) to voting machine 
> vendors that the RFP requires the machines and
> software to handle ranked 
> ballots without any future cost.  
> The report does recognize instant runoff voting,
> when the committee wrote: "a 
> major advantage of a Direct Recording Electronic
> voting system is its ability 
> to handle specific needs of the voting population
> and be adaptable to future 
> needs and expressions of the voters."  This includes
> a footnote referencing 
> the Center for Voting and Democracy's and the
> Maryland Green Party's 
> testimony about instant runoff voting.  The report
> explains how instant 
> runoff voting works and correctly notes that it was
> used at one time in 
> Maryland primary elections.  There may be more
> references to ranked voting 
> systems, but I have not come across them as of yet.
> Our job in the coming months will be to ensure that
> the RFP includes ranked 
> choice voting software.
> Please let me know if you have any questions.
> Eric
> 301-270-4616
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